The scammers will call saying they are from the IRS and claiming that you owe the IRS money. They will tell you that you must pay promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If you refuse to cooperate, they may threaten arrest, deportation or suspension of a business license or driver’s license. The caller may become hostile or insulting.
The IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone or in emails. It also does not request payment with pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers. The IRS warns that if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS who threatens arrest, deportation or loss of a license or other coercive action, you are not talking to an IRS employee. When the IRS needs to contact a taxpayer about a legitimate tax issue, it communicates through the mail (“snail mail’).
Other characteristics of this scam include:
· Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
· Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
· Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
· Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
· Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
The Everett Police Department says:
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to email@example.com.
More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
For more information about scams like this take a look at the video at this link from CNN: