New scams by IRS impersonators
Despite all the warnings and news coverage, scammers continue to run very successful “businesses” posing as Internal Revenue Service agents. Taxpayers lose millions of dollars every year by falling for their schemes.
Every year con artists add new twists to IRS tax scams. This one is more likely to fool more people than most.
The scammers give you a call and their caller ID shows that it’s the IRS. Calls are often made using a technology called Voice Over Internet Protocol. Scammers are counting on the fact that many people with caller ID will believe that it is the IRS calling.
The caller might give you a badge number and know the last four digits of your Social Security number. Providing this information will convince even more people that it’s the IRS.
The taxpayer is told that they owe money. Some of the scammers will tell you that you will need to pay the taxes now or you will be arrested.
You may be told that you need to put the money on a prepaid debit card, wire it, or use other means to demand payment.
If this happens to you do not give the caller your financial or other personal information. Hang up on the caller immediately.
Write down the details such as the number and name of the caller, and what you were told.
If you think you may owe back taxes you have several options:
- call the IRS at 800-829-1040
- visit irs.gov/balancedue
- view tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed
- call the number on any billing notice from the IRS
File a complaint with:
- the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at tigta.gov or 800-366-4484.
- the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint or 877-FTC-HELP
The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
- Leave pre-recorded, urgent or threatening messages.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying, deported or revoke their licenses.
- Ask for checks to third parties.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Another new phone scam is calling for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment or coronavirus programs for businesses. Taxpayers should never provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf.
Never give any financial information to anyone who calls and claims to be the IRS. If you need to make a tax payment there are several options. You can send a check, make your payment by calling on an official IRS phone line or pay on the IRS website.
David Zubler is a tax accountant and Enrolled Agent representing clients before the IRS with over 25 years of tax experience. He is the author of four tax books and is the founder and president of Your Tax Care. The company provides business and tax education to the public at its website, YourTaxCare.com. David can also be contacted by email at email@example.com