You get a phone call from the IRS stating that you owe big money and that if you don't pay right now you will get arrested. The caller sounds like they know what they are talking about, they use your name, address and phone number and it is plausible because you just submitted your taxes! What do you do?
Tax season is upon us and it is the perfect time for scammers to trick unsuspecting people out of some money. The above scenario happens daily and many hardworking, law abiding people are getting scammed out of their money. There seem to be two types of scams, either they are claiming arrest or court action for not paying or they say you have a huge refund coming and ask for your bank account information to wire the money to you.
Scammers are getting good and can alter caller ID information to make it look like the call is actually coming from the IRS. They make big threats, bully people and use your name, address and phone number to sound official.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says, “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you're not hearing from us.”
Here is information directly taken from the IRS website with more detail:
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” 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.