IRS Phone Scams on the Rise!
Posted on March 16th, 2015 in General Interest
Over the last few years reports of tax related scams have been on the rise. Among the most popular are phone scams. Generally these scam target small businesses and recent immigrants. In this scam the scammer calls the victim claiming to be from a government agency and demands payment on a supposed outstanding tax balance. The caller usually requires payment to be made via wire transfer, prepaid debit card or credit card over the phone. If the victim refuses to cooperate the caller usually threatens arrest, deportation, or closing down their business. The more advanced scammers will even take steps to trick the caller ID to look like the incoming call is from the IRS or another taxing authority. In some cases the caller will even say that there is a government agent outside watching them to make sure the tax debt is resolved. To make matters worse many times the scammer knows a lot about the victim like their address, social security number, sometimes even their date of birth.
Please note that:
- The IRS never makes calls to collect on accounts but rather sends letters to the taxpayer.
- The IRS usually sends many letters before ever taking action on an account in order to giver the taxpayer opportunities to dispute the amount owed.
- The IRS does not demand a taxpayer to use prepaid debit cards or wire transfers to pay tax balances.
- The IRS does not use local law enforcement or other police agencies to arrest people for non-payment of tax account balances.
- With the various data breaches that have occurred recently, (Target, Chase Bank, Home Depot, Michael s, Neiman Marcus, etc.) personal data is no longer personal or secure. The fact that someone knows your personal information is no longer a sign that they are an authority figure or can be trusted.
If you encounter a call like this, contact the taxing authority in question by looking up the government agency in question, (never use the number a caller gives you) and call them directly. For IRS tax fraud cases, you could report phone scams directly to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at
1-800-366-4484. If you have a CPA or Attorney, ask them to make the contact for you. If you do not have a financial or legal resource to assist please feel free to give us a call, we never charge to talk.
About the Author – Phillip Zagotti, CPA is the President of Zagotti and Burdette CPA, LLC. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (832) 800-3347.