Just because the tax season is over doesn’t mean it’s time let your guard down. The IRS is urging taxpayers to protect themselves from thieves trying to trick them into paying bogus tax bills.
Unsolicited phone calls
Scammers have been calling taxpayers pretending to be IRS employees. They demand payment for a fake tax bill and usually request to be paid via prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may even leave “urgent” callback requests through “robo-calls”. Remember, if the IRS needs to reach you, their first method of contact will be through the U.S. mail. And the IRS doesn’t have a preferred payment method. IRS will not request any credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Most scammers try to intimidate victims into making a payment by threatening to have them arrested, deported or having their driver’s license revoked. The IRS will not call you demanding immediate payment. Not only will you get a notice in the mail, you’ll also get the opportunity to question or appeal the amount you owe.
Scammers are always finding new ways to steal your money . To make their scheme believable, sometimes they’ll provide a real IRS address where they’ll tell you to send a receipt after you’ve made a payment. Others will send emails containing fake IRS documents with a reply email address or phone number. These scams often use official IRS letterhead to make it seem legit.
$23 million in losses
According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), victims have collectively lost over $23 million to tax scams since October 2013. If you receive a call and know for a fact that you don’t owe any taxes, hang up. Report the call to TIGTA via their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page and to the Federal Trade Commission using their “FTC Complaint Assistant”.