Associated Tax warns that scams using the IRS as a fake and lure continue into this tax season. These deceits take many different forms, most commonly as phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They’re clever enough to use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. Even worse, they may try to steal your identity too.
Be cautious! If you get an unexpected phone call or automated message from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They will use different tactics. They may say that you owe money and must pay right away. Other times they say you are owed a refund then ask for bank account information over the phone. Don’t fall for it. Here are several tips from the actual IRS that will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
The real IRS will NOT:
- Call you and demand immediate payment. The IRS does not call if you owe taxes without first sending a bill or official notification in the mail.
- Insist on tax payment now without allowing you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
- Assert that you pay your taxes in a certain way, e.g. demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
- Begin threatening to involve local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
- Intimidate you with a lawsuit.
If you don’t owe taxes to IRS and have no reason to think that you do, Associated Tax recommends to:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
- Also report incident it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.
However, if you think you may owe taxes:
- Ask the person on the phone for a call back number as well as a employee badge number.
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS agents can help you.
In most cases, this is likely an IRS phishing scam: an unsolicited, bogus email claiming to come from the IRS. These extortionists often use fake refunds, phony tax bills, or threats of an audit. Some emails link to fake websites that look real. Their goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If these scammers get what they’re after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.
If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:
- Don’t reply to the message.
- Do not give out your personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to email@example.com. Then delete it.
- Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
Additional IRS Resources: