Scammers and cyber thieves continue to use the IRS as bait. The most common tax scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. Scammers use the IRS name, logo, fake employee names and badge numbers to try to steal money and identities from taxpayers.
Taxpayers need to be wary of phone calls or automated messages from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Often, these criminals will say taxpayers owe money and demand payment right away. Other times, scammers will lie to taxpayers and say they are due a refund. The thieves ask for bank account information over the phone. The IRS warns taxpayers not to fall for these scams.
Follow these tips to help avoid becoming an IRS tax scam victim.
IRS Employees will NEVER:
- Call demanding an immediate payment. The IRS will not call taxpayers if they owe taxes without first sending a bill in the mail.
- Demand payment without allowing taxpayers to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Demand that taxpayers pay their taxes in a specific way, such as with a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to contact local police or similar agencies to arrest taxpayers for non-payment of taxes.
- Threaten legal action, such as a lawsuit.
If taxpayers do not owe or do not think they owe any tax, and they receive an inquiry like this, they should:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
- Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.
IRS Phishing Scam
In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, fake email that claims to come from the IRS. Some emails link to sham websites that look real. The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If the thieves get what they are after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and identity.
For taxpayers who receive a phishing email, the IRS offers this advice:
- Do NOT reply to the message.
- Do NOT give out your personal or financial information.
- Forward the email to email@example.com. Then delete it.
- Do NOT open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
Contact your bank immediately if you believe you have fallen victim to an IRS scam. Call an MCB Tax Advisor for tax questions and advice at 703-218-3600.