Tax scams usually intensify around tax time in April but they are intermittent in nature. The IRS just informed about a newly reported phone scam threatening taxpayers and immigrants with jail, deportation, or revocation of a business license or driver’s license if they don’t immediately pay back taxes.
How does the newest tax scam work?
A person receiving a phone call is told that he/she owes taxes and a scammer tries to convince the person to make a payment for a tax due. A conversation often becomes aggressive and scammers try to intimidate the person they call. Scammers want a payment in a form of a wire transfer or a pre-loaded debit card making it later impossible to recoup money. Be aware that a dead giveaway is a request for an immediate payment.
Scammers won’t just cold call hoping for your gullibility. To sound like a legitimate IRS employees they will provide a name and a badge number and may even have some personal information about you (such as the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number). Caller ID may indicate or have “IRS” in its name and background noise can emulate a busy IRS office. You may also receive emails related to the phone call you received and even bogus calls from law enforcement impostors as to buttress previous claims of a potential arrest or deportation if you don’t pay.
What to do if you receive a suspicious phone call from the IRS?
If you happen to receive a phone call from someone who claims to be an IRS employee, here’s what to do:
- Remain calm, if you get nervous you’re more likely to not think clearly and be outwit by a criminal.
- Request the caller’s name, a badge or employee number, and a call back number.
- say you will contact the IRS promptly but at more opportune time; make up a reason why this is not a good time for you to continue a conversation and say you will call back or request a call back in a few days giving you the time to investigate veracity of the call.
- If the caller is uncooperative and does not want to provide information you requested, be very suspicious and do not reveal and personal information.
- For your peace of mind, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 and inquire about your tax situation; if you in fact owe taxes, you can discuss that with the agent on the phone.
Don’t be a victim in 2014 tax season! You can report all suspicious activity to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration on its website or call 800-366-4484. Apart from phone calls, scam attempts may include emails, which are typically phishing attempts. The IRS does not initiate communication via email, so do not open any emails that appear to be from the IRS and most definitely do not reveal any personal details.