Advertisement
Scams

IRS Warns of New Phone Scam

Taxpayers are being told to pay money they don't owe or face harsh consequences.

Scammers are calling people across the country claiming that they owe money to the IRS and making threats including arrest if they don't pay up, according to the IRS. This sophisticated new telephone scam has hit taxpayers -- including recent immigrants -- in nearly every state.

Victims are told that they must pay money they owe to the IRS through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The claims seem legitimate because scammers manipulate caller ID systems to make it appear as if the calls originate from the IRS. They may even be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number, according to the IRS.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Those who refuse to cooperate are told that their license will be revoked, they will be arrested, or they will be deported if they are immigrants. The scammers will call back and pretend to be from the local police precinct or department of motor vehicles. Again, the caller ID will falsely support their claim.

However, the IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone or request pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers, said IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel in a written statement. In fact, the IRS usually initiates contact with taxpayers via old-fashioned snail mail, he said.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The IRS recommends that you take the following steps if you get a suspicious call:

Call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040 if you think you might owe taxes or know that you do. IRS employees can help you with a payment issue if one exists.

Report the scam call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 and the Federal Trade Commission's Complaint Assistant. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your FTC complaint.

Advertisement - Article continues below

This phone scam is just one of many in which con artists fraudulently claim to be from the IRS to get people to part with their money or personal information. Here are several other similar scams:

A Web site that mimics the IRS e-Services online registration page. This fake site aims to steal taxpayers' personal information. The actual e-Services page provides Web-based products for tax preparers, not the general public. Fake sites also end in .com, .net or .org, instead of .gov.

A combination e-mail and text message that warns recipients that a federal tax transaction initiated from the checking account was rejected by the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Recipients are prompted to respond using a link to a malicious Web site.

An e-mail claiming recipients will be penalized up to $10,000 for failing to file a tax return on time. The e-mail references a filing deadline of January and directs people to a fake IRS site that asks for personal information.

To protect yourself against these and other scams, be aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by e-mail, text messages or social media. Do not open any attachments or click on any links in e-mails or text messages that appear to be from the IRS. Forward such messages to phishing@irs.gov. And do not provide passwords, PINs or confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts to people or Web sites claiming to represent the IRS because the IRS never asks for this information.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas
retirement

8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas

From the mountains to the beaches, North Carolina and South Carolina offer retirees plenty of incentives.
August 14, 2020
What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You
Tax Breaks

What Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Will Mean for You

President Trump issued an executive order to suspend the collection of Social Security payroll taxes. How much could it save you?
August 13, 2020
7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement
happy retirement

7 Surprisingly Valuable Assets for a Happy Retirement

If you want a long and fulfilling retirement, you need more than money. Here are the most valuable retirement assets to have (besides money), and how …
August 3, 2020

Recommended

Kamala Harris's Tax Policy Proposals
Politics

Kamala Harris's Tax Policy Proposals

Since she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency next year, you might want to know where Kamala Harris stands on taxes.
August 15, 2020
Stimulus Check Relief for Spouses of Deceased People is Coming
Coronavirus and Your Money

Stimulus Check Relief for Spouses of Deceased People is Coming

The IRS will be sending new stimulus checks to widows and widowers who didn't get their original payment.
August 15, 2020
Veterans with Children Get Second Chance for Extra $500 Stimulus Check
Coronavirus and Your Money

Veterans with Children Get Second Chance for Extra $500 Stimulus Check

The IRS set a new deadline for VA benefit recipients who didn't get an extra stimulus check payment for dependent children.
August 14, 2020
Social Security Recipients Get More Time to Request Extra $500 Stimulus Check
Coronavirus and Your Money

Social Security Recipients Get More Time to Request Extra $500 Stimulus Check

The IRS is reopening the registration period for seniors who didn't receive the additional payment for dependent children earlier this year.
August 14, 2020