IRS phone scammers have become increasingly deceiving and untraceable in recent times. Since October 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received approximately 290,000 contacts from US citizens reporting a possible scam. The TIGTA has also confirmed that among the contacts, nearly 3,000 have fallen victims, collectively paying more than $14 million to fraudsters who made unsolicited calls to them claiming to be IRS officials. Considering the outreach of IRS scammers and the extent of possible damages, it becomes essential for every US taxpayer to know how to protect themselves from getting duped.
To help, this post discusses some of the signs of a scam, and the course of action to follow if you have reasons to believe you are being targeted by an IRS scammer.
1. Fake Number Display and Follow-ups
Fraud IRS agents know various tricks to “spoof” the caller ID so that it looks like the calls are originating from the IRS. Scammers even have access to the last four digits of the social security number of their targets along with their personal information. They back up their deception by faking follow-up calls from the State Department of Motor Vehicles or the Police.
2. Personal Information Requests
Though most scammers would have your basic info, including the last four digits of your social security number, they may ask for the details of your credit card or other financial info. In no event should you disclose any information that may give them access to your bank account.
3. Urgent Payment Requests
IRS agents never demand immediate payment of unpaid taxes over the phone. Scammers, on the other hand, often convince victims to pay taxes immediately via prepaid debit card or wire transfer. To do this, these fraudsters request for financial information through phone, email, or text.
4. Personal Threats
Scammers impersonating IRS agents may try to threaten you with serious consequences such as arrest, loss of job, deportation, and loss of your business or driver’s license, if you refuse to pay what they say you owe. The IRS, on the other hand, never harasses non-taxpayers.
Lastly, you should know that the IRS never calls defaulters or ask them to pay their taxes over the phone. Rather, the IRS always notifies people about their unpaid taxes or tax problems (if any) through a written communication that can be an email or/and a letter. If you receive a call that you suspect to be from a scammer, hang up the phone, and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Should you have any question, feel free to reach us at (972) 426-2553. Our expert team of tax professionals are always ready to help you with all kinds of IRS-related questions and concerns.