The IRS issued a new alert in response to the increase in phone scam activities by individuals pretending to be the IRS representatives. As we are getting closer to the end of the extension period to file taxes (October 15) and only a few months away from the closure of the current tax year, there is a spike in this type activity.
The recent alert has to do with phone calls made by crooks that try to deceive individuals and obtain their personal details. The IRS reminds that the scam artists are very well prepared and trained to get your information. They typically have some details about the individuals they are contacting, they often alter their caller ID to resemble that of the IRS, and may identify themselves with fake names and made up employee numbers. The IRS reminds that there are clearly established processes in place to handle any tax situation an individual may face. Tax scammers typically try intimidation and threats to obtain personal information, whether in direct conversation or by leaving voice messages with requests to call back. In light of that, the IRS issued a short list of five things it will never do to taxpayers:
- Call you regarding tax issues without first sending you by mail an official notice.
- Demand a tax payment without giving you an opportunity to appeal or question the requested amount.
- Require a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card.
- Request a credit or debit card number over the phone.
- Make threats about sending a local law enforcement to arrest you if you don’t make a payment.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS representative who disobeys any of the five actions listed above, it is a clear indication you may be dealing with a scammer. In those instances, do not disclose any personal details. If you are unsure what to do next, you can always contact the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040 and inquire whether or not there are any issues you have to address.
You can take action and report potential scam activity to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484.