News / 2015

Protect Yourself from IRS-Related Scams

May 28, 2015 Posted by Tasha Helms

Since October 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 290,000 calls from IRS impersonators and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of a phone scam in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send cash via prepaid debit cards.

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of an IRS-related phone scam, keep in mind that the IRS will never:
• Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the IRS call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you an 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 know you owe taxes or think you might owe taxes, ask for a call back number and an employee badge number, then call the IRS at 1800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with a payment issue.
• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
• If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use its “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam? to the comments of the complaint.

Remember, too, that the IRS does not use email, text messages, or any other social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:
• Don’t reply to the message;
• Don’t give out your personal or financial information;
• Forward the email “as is” to phishing@irs.gov, then delete the email; and
• Don’t open any attachments or click on any links–they may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

For more information on IRS-related tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

Share