A recent warning from the Internal Revenue Service, IR-2015-99 warns consumers about scammers’ attempts to impersonate the IRS and demand both money and information. Be especially vigilant during the holidays to recognize scammers using fear tactics with the goal of separating you from your money.
WASHINGTON — Following the emergence of new variations of widespread tax scams, the Internal Revenue Service today issued another warning to taxpayers to remain on high alert and protect themselves against the ever-evolving array of deceitful tactics scammers use to trick people.
These schemes – which can occur over the phone, in e-mails or through letters with authentic looking letterhead – try to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information or scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal.
It is important to remember the official IRS website is IRS.gov. Taxpayers are urged not to be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS but ending in .com, .net, .org or other designations instead of .gov. Taxpayers should never provide personal information, financial or otherwise, to suspicious websites or strangers calling out of the blue.
Below are five things scammers often do that the real IRS would never do:
The IRS will never:
- Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- 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.
Here’s what you should do if you think you’re the target of an IRS impersonation scam:
- If you actually do owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or do not immediately believe that you do, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.
If you’ve been targeted by any scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Compliant Assistant at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.