IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam
Unfortunately, phone scams have become a year-round nuisance. Given the time of year, scammers are now taking advantage of tax payers and hoping to cash in on the anxiety many people have as April 15 approaches. An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers has been making the rounds throughout the country. Convincing callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
Know the Warning Signs
If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request. Note that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card;
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone;
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.