The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is warning taxpayers to be on alert for phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service, but in reality are trying to defraud them, in what is being reported as the largest phone scam seen to date.
TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George, noted that the TIGTA has received reports from over 20,000 contacts, as well as thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam.
Callers claiming to be IRS agents are telling potential victims that they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. Additionally, the scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation, or a loss of a business or driver’s license. According to TIGTA, the fact is that the IRS typically contacts taxpayers via mail in the form of a notice for a specific tax period. And, although the IRS does accept credit card payments for taxes, it is not customary to demand payment or threaten taxpayers over the phone.
The bottom line here is to be aware of the scam, and do not be fooled by the person on the other end of the phone regardless if the caller id on your landline says Internal Revenue Service.
Should you encounter this scam, hang up and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484. You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/ and be sure to add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comment section in your complaint.
Be wary of unknown emails using the IRS name. The IRS said it will never request personal information or financial information via email, texting or any form of social media. If you have received any email claiming they are the IRS, you should forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org, but you should not open any attachments or click any links within that email.