Scam Alert Warning!
If you believe that you would not be subject to a tax scheme, think again! Scammers continue to change their tactics in order to trick, lie, and scare their way to your money. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has seen an increase in the amount of “robo-calls” with messages urging taxpayers to return calls before legal actions are taken. The slew of calls may come in disguise with different agendas, but one thing holds true: The IRS is not going to call you to demand immediate payment over the phone.
What do these calls sound like? First, know that these people may know a lot about their targets and can even alter the caller ID to make it look like a call from the IRS. These calls can be from a live person, claiming to be an IRS agent collecting on unpaid taxes, or in some cases stating that there was an error in your taxes. They can even claim sending multiple letters through the mail with no response. Most of these calls are laced with urgent high pressure warnings of legal repercussions. Some of the scariest calls often threaten arrest for failure to cooperate. For example, the caller might say, “There will be a policeman at your door if your hang up, your driver license will be revoked if you hang up, or you will be deported if you do not return the call and submit immediate payment”.
The IRS will not demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit, gift card, wire transfer, or even iTunes cards, nor will they threaten to immediately bring in local police or other immediate legal consequences for not paying. They will also not demand that you pay without having an opportunity to question or appeal the amount. Lastly, they will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone.
In the event that you or a family member receive one of these calls the IRS recommends that you “Hang Up” immediately, and report the number to the following agencies: TIGTA 800-366-4484 & Federal Trade Commission, using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on www.FTC.gov.
Variations of the IRS impersonation scams have also been reported where the victim is told they have a return coming to them in order to trick them into sharing private information. Others include soliciting W-2 information from Human Resources Departments and “verifying” tax information over the phone. These attempts can also be made via email, and as a result, you should always question and verify the source.
Stay alert, stop and process the information before you take action and share any kind of private information, and if you feel that you may owe taxes, contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.