The IRS just renewed its October, 2013 warning about a pervasive phone scam that continues to target people across the nation, including recent immigrants. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration called it the largest scam of its kind. As of March 20, this tax division reported that it has received reports of over 20,000 contacts related to this scam. It also stated that thousands of victims have paid over $1 million to fraudsters claiming to be from the IRS.
As some of you may recall, on Halloween the IRS announced (IR-2013-84) the newest and scariest phone scam. Someone has a sick sense of humor out there.
This sophisticated and sinister phone scam targets taxpayers, especially recent immigrants, throughout the country.
In this scam, the thief poses as the IRS and makes an unsolicited call to their target. The caller tells the victim they owe taxes to the IRS. They demand that the victim pay the money immediately with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. As I said, this is really scary stuff.
“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. My advice: If you get such a call, hang up immediately!
“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Be aware that the IRS does not contract taxpayers in this fashion. In almost all cases, the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue occurs by mail.
Other characteristics of this scam that may lead you to believe that this is a legitimate phone call and to intimidate you into giving them what they want include the following:
As you can see, these guys are good. Do not under any circumstances give them any information or pay them a thing no matter how threatened you may feel!
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS. The 419 Nigerian scam depicted in the picture above resulted in losses to many victims in that country. No matter how believable or how much you are intimidated, never let your guard down and stay skeptical and vigilant.
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