We don’t want you to be the next victim of the recent surge in phone scams by individuals claiming to be calling from the IRS. To date, more than 90,000 complaints have been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and its estimated that $5 million has been lost from these scams.
The IRS has provided some helpful information about its contact with taxpayers as well as characteristics of these scams. From the IRS’s website:
It is important for taxpayers to know that the IRS:
- Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
- Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations
- Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.
Other characteristics of these scams include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
The full article can be found on the IRS’s website here: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Repeats-Warning-about-Phone-Scams