Fraudulent schemes are nothing new in today’s world. Whether through phony non-profits or identity theft, there always seems to be a new means of scamming you. There are reports of an increased level of fraudulent calls from phony IRS agents in an attempt to scam money from unknowing individuals. These fake agents tend to use generic names, fabricated badge numbers and demand immediate payment of taxes owed with threats of suspended licenses, arrest or legal action.
Some warning signs of a phony call are:
- The phone call does not follow an actual notice received in the mail.
- They demand payment immediately without any opportunities of appeal.
- They request unusual methods of payment, such as prepaid debit cards or requests for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threats of sending local authorities to your home if payment is not made immediately.
The IRS is aware of this issue and suggests the following advice if a phone call is received:
- If you know you owe taxes, or think you might owe, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 and actual IRS workers can help with a payment issue.
- If you know you do not owe taxes or have reason to believe you do not, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at tigta.gov.
- You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant: Choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up. Contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website. NEVER provide payment information on a call that you did not initiate.