Over the last few months our firm has received dozens of phone calls from scared Arizona residents asking us how they should respond to a phone call they received “from an IRS agent” who demanded that they pay money or that they will be arrested. Tax season is a stressful time for Americans and professional scam artists know it is a prime time to prey on our anxieties trying to extort our hard-earned money, and unfortunately, many times they succeed.
How the Scam Works
According to www.irs.gov these scammers:
(1) Make unsolicited calls to taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials or agents. They demand that the person pay a phony tax bill. They convince the person to send cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing emails.
(2) They use threats to intimidate and bully a person into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport, or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get paid.
(3) They often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The scammers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
(4) They use variations of the schemes trying to make the scam seem legitimate where they will provide an actual IRS address where they tell the person to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Other scammers use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims.
How to Know the Call or Email Is A Scam According to www.irs.gov, the IRS never does any of the following: (1) Calls you to demand an immediate payment; (2) Calls you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail; (3) Demands that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe. (4) Requires that you pay your taxes a certain way like with a prepaid debit card. (5) Asks for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone. (6) Threatens to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
What You Should Do If One of These Scammers Calls You According to www.irs.gov, if you receive a call like this and you don’t owe taxes or have any reason to think that you do then do the following:
(1) Do not give out any information and HANG UP IMMEDIAELY!!! (2) Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the call at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml, or at 800-366-4484. (3) You can also report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted?NextQID=216&Selected=t%20-%20crnt#crnt.
Remember . . . Don’t let these scamming solicitors add to your tax-time stress, when they call, immediately hang up and then report them to the TIGTA and FTC. If you have any further questions, please contact Rosenstein Law Group at (480) 248-7666 for a free consultation. We are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
According to www.irs.gov: A 2015 report revealed that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.
According to www.irs.gov: Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.