The phones rings and regardless of what you are doing, you are compelled to answer it. In the last few weeks, the calls are generally telemarketer calls which have been extremely annoying. However, it could be worse.
At this time of year with taxes on everyone mind, there have been more incidents of aggressive telephone scams where the caller claims to be from the IRS. The IRS unveiled a new YouTube video with a renewed warning to taxpayers not to be fooled by imposters posing as tax agency representatives. Click here to watch the video: IRS VIDEO
The calls can sound very convincing and may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. They may have some personal information, and will usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the 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 you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
In addition, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.
Remember never to give out any of your personal information over the phone. The con artists are not only using the IRS for their scams and unfortunately, they can be very convincing. Don’t become their next victim!
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