I subscribe to the Better Business Bureau enewsletter and they’ve posted the following information. We’ve had a few calls about this at our Chamber so I find it particularly relevant to share it with my readers today.
Tips For Avoiding IRS Scams
People from all over the country are falling victim to a recent phone scam by callers pretending to be IRS agents. These IRS impersonators are calling up their targets, unsuspecting taxpayers and often immigrants, and demanding that they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the “IRS agents.” The threats include jail time, deportation, or the suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.
In order to convince people that they are real IRS agents, the scammers use several tricks including a program to make the IRS’s toll-free number appear on the caller ID, call center background noise, and false agent badge numbers. If the target is not already convinced, sometimes callers are able to report the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number. And this complex scam goes even further. Those who hang up on the caller may receive another call soon after from a scammer claiming to be a police officer or a DMV agent.
Follow these tips in order to protect yourself from this IRS scam and others like it:
- Beware of any caller claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money. The IRS states that it would never ask for payments by wire transfer or a prepaid card and it will typically alert taxpayers of unpaid taxes via the mail, not a phone call.
- In general, never give anyone money, bank account or credit card information over the phone.
- Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. This is a tactic many scammers use.
- Be skeptical of what a caller claims he or she can do if you refuse to meet their demand. An IRS agent will not get the police or an immigration agency involved just because you owe taxes.
- If you think you may owe taxes or have a tax question, call the IRS at (800) 929-1040
- If you have been targeted by this scam, contact the Federal trade commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.