In the last few months, have you gotten an urgent robo-call, telling you to return the phone call to settle your tax bill? You’re not alone, but you are in trouble.
Not from the Internal Revenue Service, but from scammers. The IRS says these fake calls trick people into paying money to a number of different fake bills. Then if the person doesn’t pay, the scammer threatens them with arrests, deportation, or revoking of their driver’s license.
“It used to be that most of these bogus calls would come from a live-person. Scammers are evolving and using more automated calls in an effort to reach the largest number of victims possible,” says IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remain alert for this summer surge of phone scams, and watch for clear warning signs as these scammers change tactics.”
This summer, there was a surge in IRS impersonators that are demanding payments on iTunes or other gift cards. Remember: any request to settle a tax bill on gift cards is actually a scam and does not come from the Internal Revenue Service.
Keep in mind that the IRS will never call to demand payment over the phone and any agent or representative of the IRS will not call without mailing you a bill first. The IRS will also never threaten with police or law enforcement to have you arrested.
Look out for scammers who demand you pay taxes without giving you the chance to appeal or even question the amount that you owe. You’ll know it’s a scam if they request a specific payment method, like a debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Also remember that the IRS will never request for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, which means that’s a big sign it’s a scam.
If you get a phone call from someone telling you they are from the IRS and are demanding money, do not give out any personal information and hang up immediately. After that, contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov.
If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.