Taxpayer Alert: IRS Continues Warning on Impersonation Scams
As the 2017 tax season remains in our rearview mirror, the IRS is reminding taxpayers to remain cautious with regards to various phishing email and telephone scams. Please visit the following link to the IRS’ website (Continues Warning on Impersonation Scams; Reminds People to Remain Alert to Other Scams, Schemes This Summer) for more information on what taxpayers should know to help them mitigate these potential risks. Of particular note, the IRS reminds us that they “do not call and leave pre-recorded, urgent messages asking for a call back…where the victim is told if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for the arrest”, nor does the IRS initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. Remain vigilant of these scams in an ongoing effort to help safeguard your personal information and assets, and take note of the IRS’ recommendations below:
Telltale signs of a scam
The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:
• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
• Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do:
• Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
• Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page.
• Report the caller ID and/or callback number to the IRS by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).
• Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assitant on FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:
• View tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed. Taxpayers can then also review their payment options.
• Call the number on the billing notice, or
• Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
The IRS does not use text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts page on IRS.gov.
Additional information about tax scams is also available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.