The IRS recently warned the public to be on alert for phone calls from so-called agents with the IRS. Generally, these calls claim the taxpayer has unpaid taxes which need to be paid immediately. The caller will generally ask for immediate payment sometimes in a threatening tone and even try to trick the taxpayer into providing sensitive social security and bank account information. What makes these callers dangerous is how they present themselves when calling. Not only are they modifying caller id to make it appear they are calling from the IRS, but they seem to know a lot about the taxpayer.
To help clients, prospects and others, we have provided a list of ways to identify when you are being targeted. These include:
- If you have not previously received a written notice from the IRS, then any call is not authentic. It is IRS policy to first send a written communication to a taxpayer prior to initiating telephone contact.
- A caller that tells you to pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. The IRS provides the opportunity to question or appeal taxes owed. If such threats are being made, then it’s certain the call is not authentic.
- If the caller requests you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, then it is a scam call.
- The IRS does not ask for sensitive financial information such as bank or credit card account numbers over the phone. If someone is asking for this information, then you can be assured they do not represent the IRS.
- If the caller threatens to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying, then it is not a legitimate phone call. The IRS will never make such threats.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of an IRS phone scam or received a call from someone demanding tax payment claiming to be from the IRS, please contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately. The FTC is in charge of managing all fraudulent behavior, especially the ongoing IRS phone scams