The call comes to your home. Caller ID suggests it’s the IRS. You answer.
Soon you’re assaulted by the voice on the other end of the line.
“This is the Audit Department of the IRS,” the caller says. Then he says your name. “Our records show that you have committed tax fraud,” he continues. “You must pay the IRS or you will be arrested.”
You’re baffled. You got your tax refund this year, and you haven’t heard from IRS since. You ask the caller, “Is this really the IRS?”
It is a phone scam that has claimed about $5 million from individuals who have fallen prey to the IRS fraud. The IRS has received more than 90,000 complaints about the phone scam. It has identified more than 1,000 scam victims.
Don’t be the next one.
With good news or bad, the IRS first contacts taxpayers by mail.
The phone call, says IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, is a “big red flag.”
Also, the IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone. It never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment or requests immediate payment over the phone.
These phone scams are detailed, the IRS warns. The scam artists use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They may even cite the last four digits of your Social Security number. Some have even made the IRS toll-free number appear on your caller ID and sent bogus emails.
If those schemes don’t work, they may have another fraudster call back pretending to be the police or a DMV agent who will revoke your driver’s license.
It’s all part of the phone scam. Even if they say you have an IRS tax refund. Don’t believe any of it.
Hang up and call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 to report the phone scam. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Use their FTC Complaint Assistant and add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
You can find more information on the phone scam at irs.gov. Just type in the word “scam.”
And, if you’ve got questions about your tax return, you can always contact Liberty Tax Service at 1-877-at-Liberty.
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