Taxes

Beware, New Twist on IRS Phone Scam

Stephen Fishman
Tax expert and contributor MileIQ

The IRS has alerted taxpayers that there is a new twist on an old phone scam. Criminals are using telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC) to trick taxpayers into paying fake tax bills. Scam artists have programmed their computers to display the TAC telephone number, which appears on your caller ID when the call comes through.    If you question their demand for tax payment, the scammers direct you to IRS.gov to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify the phone number. The crooks hang up, wait a short time, then call back a second time with a fake or "spoof" caller ID that appears to come from an IRS office. After you have verifiedthe call number, the fraudsters resume their demands for money, often demanding you pay them with a debit card.  ursuant to their policy, IRS employees at TAC offices never call taxpayers to demand payment of overdue tax bills. Nor does the IRS ever:  

       
  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer
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  • Ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone
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  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
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  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers, or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying, or
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  • Threaten to revoke your driver's license or business license.
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If you who receive the IRS phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam, you should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to the IRS by emailing phishing@irs.gov with the subject line "IRS Phone Scam."  

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For Taxpayers Who Don't Owe Taxes or Don't Think They Do:

       
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
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  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their¬†IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting¬†web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
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  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
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For Those Who Owe Taxes or Think They Do:

       
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
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Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more information visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov.

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