If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware of the many ways scam artists use to separate a taxpayer from his money by pretending to be the IRS. Hardly a day goes by that we do not receive a call from the attempted target of a scam who has been threatened with immediate arrest by the “IRS” if they do not pay money to the scammer.
The IRS continues to warn taxpayers of the various scams, including a fake federal student tax, sending fake tax bills for the Affordable Care Act, illegally obtaining taxpayer information from payroll and human resource professionals, tricking tax professionals by imitating software providers, requesting verification of tax information over the telephone and/or pretending to be a representative of the tax preparation industry.
If you received contact from someone purportedly from the IRS, take steps to ensure that the person that you are talking with truly works for the IRS. Ask for their badge number, their telephone number and the name and telephone number of their supervisor. Ask for the years and amounts in issue. Do not give the caller any personal information and then conclude the call.
Google the telephone number that you were provided and see if there are any hits that would indicate that the caller is a scammer. Check your records to determine if you have any unfiled tax returns or any unpaid liability due to the IRS. Call the telephone number you were given and ensure that it is a government telephone number, not a scammer.
Scammers will frequently end the telephone call if you start asking for the information suggested above. Further, the IRS will never call you to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, will not ask for a credit or debit card number over the telephone, will not threaten your arrest or deportation and will not demand payment of taxes without first giving you the opportunity to question the amount due or to file an appeal.
If you receive a telephone call from a scammer, you should immediately report the telephone call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS and your local police department. If you receive an email from the IRS demanding payment, it is most certainly a scam.
You should immediately forward the email to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org and then permanently delete the email from your account. If you receive an IRS notice in the mail and question whether it is fraudulent, you can perform a keyword search on www.irs.gov to view images of common IRS correspondence to determine whether the letter is legitimate.
Please remember that IRS impersonation scams can take many forms, including threatening telephone calls, phishing emails and demanding letters. Have you received a telephone call, letter or email from the “IRS”? Do you owe money to the IRS or have unfiled tax returns? Contact us, we can help.