Most have received the occasional telemarketing call whether it’s local non-profit soliciting donations, an automated robot conducting a survey, or a salesman trying to push a product you don’t want or need. While these calls can be classified as annoying or a nuisance, they don’t leave you feeling afraid or guarded.
Recently the IRS issued a strong public warning to be alert for calls from individuals claiming to be from the IRS. With calls being reported nationwide, fear is generated in the recipient when the caller claims, and often demands money for taxes supposedly owed. In some circumstances, callers have tried to trick people into providing their social security and bank account information by indicating a tax refund is due. The caller may appear to know a lot about you and even have found ways to change caller ID so it appears the IRS is calling. However, these calls are phony and designed to steal important personal information from you.
Tips for Spotting a Scam
Below, Barnes Dennig has provided five key warning signs to help identify a fraudulent situation. Remember, the IRS will never:
- Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
Any one of the above five things is a sign of a scam. Remember, the IRS does not currently use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues.
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of an IRS phone scam or you receive a suspicious call from someone demanding tax payment and claiming to be from the IRS, please contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484, or visit www.titga.gov. The FTC is in charge of managing all fraudulent behavior especially the IRS phone scams currently occurring.