Monday, February 16, 2015

Emergency Update: IRS Phone Scam

Unfortunately, one of our clients just got fleeced for "everything" he had. We usually send out emails about scams once a year or so, but in light of what happened to our client we are posting this emergency update. Don't be fooled: anyone who calls claiming to be from the IRS is lying. If someone contacts you, call us.


It's tax time, and there is a new scam going around that you need to know about so you can protect yourselves.

Scammers are calling people, claiming to represent the IRS, and demanding money. They threaten arrest, deportation, the loss of a business, or the loss of a driver's license.

They have defrauded victims of about $1 million total thus far.

Because the IRS generally contacts a taxpayer by mail, a phone call about money owed to the IRS is a big red flag. The IRS will also never ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or a wire transfer, and will never ask for a credit card number over the phone.

These scammers are smart and know tricks to seem legitimate. They are also counting on us being "afraid of the IRS" and wanting to resolve things immediately.

The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) advises that the callers who commit this fraud often:

* Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
* Know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security Number.
* Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
* Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
* Call a second time claiming to be the police, Department of Motor Vehicles, or FBI, and the caller ID again supports their claim.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here's what to do:

* If you owe federal taxes, or think you may owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
* If you don't owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484 .
* You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

TIGTA and the IRS encourage taxpayers to be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name.

The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to phishing@irs.gov.

Don't open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

Read more about tax scams on the genuine IRS website at www.irs.gov.

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