Though tax scams can happen any time of year, the IRS is reporting an increase as the 2016 tax season approaches. The IRS is once again warning taxpayers to beware of criminals who attempt to steal money by making threatening phone calls and impersonating IRS agents.
The Internal Revenue Service announced that IRS phone scams have been included on the annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams for the 2016 filing season. The “Dirty Dozen” is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter.
Learn more in this video provided by the IRS or view our YouTube channel playlist containing videos provided by the IRS relevant to phone scams.
How Does the Phone Scam Work?
- Scammers make unsolicited and aggressive calls claiming to be IRS officials, demanding the individual pay a bogus tax bill.
- They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or phishing emails.
The following information was extracted from IRS Newsire Issue Number: IR-2016-14, which was distributed on February 2, 2016.
How Can You Tell If The Phone Call is a Scam?
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency 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.
What To Do If You Receive A Scam Call
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Don’t give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Report the call via this IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website or call 800-366-4484.
- Also report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-3. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with tax payment issues or questions.
For more information, visit the IRS website at https://www.irs.gov/.