As the tax filing deadline approaches, there has been a significant increase in tax scams, in particular a pervasive telephone scam, that is being considered the largest ever phone fraud to occur to date. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received more than 20,000 reports and $1 million has been fraudulently collected by individuals claiming to be IRS officials.
The scammers will claim that the victim owes taxes and must pay immediately or they will face arrest, deportation or lose their drivers license. They have been reported to using fake IRS badge numbers, are able to spoof the IRS toll-free number, send fake IRS e-mails, and sometimes may even know the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number. Often immigrants and the elderly are targeted.
It’s important to know that the IRS will never request personal or financial information via phone, e-mail or social media and if you do owe taxes, the IRS will contact you by U.S. mail.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking for payment, you should do the following:
If you owe or think you may owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees can assist with payment issues, if there is issue.
If you know or have no reason to believe that you owe any federal taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector general for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
For more information on this, as well as any other scams, please review the official IRS “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014 news release here.