It’s that time of year again! No, not tax season…. scam season! This seems to be a pattern over the last few years that with the increased focus on tax issues at this time by many Americans, criminals see opportunity to try and steal your information. The Internal Revenue Service just published a handy notification that outlines things to be aware of at this time of year:
IRS Phone Scam Intensifies During Filing Season
As taxpayers are working to file their taxes, criminals are also hard at work — attempting to steal their money. While there are several versions of tax scams, the classic telephone con continues to thrive, especially during filing season. As a reminder, here’s how the scam works:
- Scammers call taxpayers telling them they owe taxes and face arrest if they don’t pay. Sometimes, the first call is a recording, asking taxpayers to call back to clear up a tax matter or face arrest.
- When taxpayers call back, the scammers often use threatening and hostile language. The thief claims the taxpayers may pay their debts using a gift card, other pre-paid cards or wire transfers.
- Taxpayers who comply lose their money to the scammers.
Taxpayers should remember that the IRS does not:
- Call taxpayers demanding immediate payment using a specific payment method, but will first mail a bill.
- Threaten to have taxpayers arrested for not paying taxes.
- Demand payment without giving taxpayers an opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS believes they owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:
- Hang up the phone immediately, without providing any information.
- Report these calls to the:
- Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form, or by calling 800-366-4484.
- Federal Trade Commission, using the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov, being sure to include “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door