WASHINGTON — After the emerging variations of the tax scams that continue to spread, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued another warning to taxpayers asking them to remain on alert and protect against the constant range of false tactics used by scammers to deceive people.
These scam tactics – which can take place over the phone, by email, or through letterhead letters that appear to be from the IRS – attempt to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information or scare people into making tax payments false that end up in the hands of criminals.
The Inspector General of Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of approximately 600,000 contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of nearly 4,000 victims who collectively have reported losses of more than $ 20 million as a result of this scam.
“We continue to see these aggressive tax scams across the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Scammers specialize in being deceptive and swindling people. The IRS encourages taxpayers to be very cautious and think twice before answering suspicious phone calls, emails or letters.
Scammers posing as IRS agents, first focused their efforts on the most vulnerable, such as elderly people, newly arrived immigrants, and those whose first language is not English. Now scammers have expanded their network and are practically targeting anyone.
In a new modification, scammers alter the information that appears on the caller ID to pretend they work for the IRS or another agency, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles. These use names, titles and false plate numbers from the IRS. They also use online resources to get their name, address and other details and thus pretend to be an official call. They even copy IRS letterhead for use in emails or by mail.
The outright swindlers even provide their victims with directions on how to get to the bank or to the nearest store where they can obtain a method to pay, such as a debit card. And in a new modification to these scams, the fraudsters could provide the victim with a real address from the IRS, so that they send a receipt for the payment made – all this in order to make the scam look official.
The most common theme of these tricks seems to be fear. The scammers try to scare people into reacting immediately without thinking twice and without being aware of what is really happening.
These scammers often use an aggressive tone and threaten victims with arrest, deportation, revocation of driver’s license, and other similarly unpleasant actions. Also, they could leave telephone messages asking you to call them urgently, they are known as pre-recorded automatic calls, or they may contact you by email. Emails often contain a false IRS document including a phone number or email for you to answer.
It is important to remember that the official IRS page is IRS.gov. Taxpayers are urged not to be confused with other deceptive pages that claim to be from the IRS but end in .com, .net, .org or other designations that are not .gov. Taxpayers should never provide personal, financial, or other information to suspicious websites or strangers by calling unexpectedly.
Below are five things that scammers usually do but that the IRS will never do
The IRS never:
- You will aggressively demand an immediate payment by phone, and the agency will not call you without first sending you an invoice.
- He will threaten to call the local police or other police groups to arrest him for not paying.
- It will demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount you say you owe.
- You will require a specific method for paying your taxes, such as a pre-paid debit card.
- Will ask for information about your credit or debit card by phone.
Here is what to do if you think you have been affected by a scam pretending to be the IRS:
- If you really owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with payment problems.
- If you know you do not owe taxes or have no reason to believe otherwise, you can report the incident to the Treasury General Inspector for Tax Administration (TIGTA), at 1-800-366-4484.
- If you have been affected by this scam, be sure to contact the Federal Trade Commission and use the “Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please include “IRS phone scam” in the comments of your complaint.
For more information on reporting tax scams visit IRS.gov and enter “scam” in the search box.