Be Aware of Tax Scams and IRS Impersonations
The IRS has been warning taxpayers of various tax and IRS impersonation scams that have been popular recently.
There have been several aggressive phone scams targeting taxpayers. The caller claims to be an IRS agent or the police, but are not. They are con artists and sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and fake IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they can alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS or police are calling.
Taxpayers are told they owe money to the IRS and that it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, filing of a law suit or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller can become hostile and insulting.
Additionally, victims may be told they have a refund due, to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Per the IRS, they will never: “1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.”
There is also a new IRS email phishing scam. Taxpayers will receive an email which appear to be from the IRS. The email includes a link to a bogus web site intended to look like the official IRS web site. The emails direct the taxpayers “to update your IRS e-file immediately.” The emails include references to USA.gov and IRSgov (note it is without a dot between “IRS” and “gov”). The authentic IRS website has the dot between IRS and gov. These emails are not from the IRS so do not respond to the emails, or click on any links.
Instead, forward the scam emails to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the IRS’s Report Phishing web page.
The IRS has issued several warnings about scams where there is fraudulent use of the IRS name or logo. These scamsters are trying to gain access to consumers’ financial information in order to steal their identity and assets. They will use the regular mail, telephone, fax or email to set up their victims.
Any unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS, or from an IRS-related divisions such as EFTPS, should be reported to the IRS at email@example.com. The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email or text.
Additionally, to avoid downloading a malicious computer virus onto your computer, do not click on attachments to or links, within an unsolicited email claiming to come from the IRS.