IRS Telephone Scams Again

Posted on Sep 5, 2016 in San Diego Lawyer, Taxes | Comments Off on IRS Telephone Scams Again

IRS Telephone Scams Again

The IRS recently warned, again, of phone based tax scams happening to consumers across the country. They said current IRS telephone scams scammers are specifically targeting students.

People should be on the lookout for IRS impersonators calling students and demanding that they wire money immediately to pay a fake “federal student tax.” If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

Real life IRS Telephone Scam Experience

Gary’s son-in-law, Clint, was a victim of one of these scams just last week.

See if you can identify all the “red flags” in this phone encounter.

It started with a voicemail. Clint got an urgent message from the IRS telling him to call back 323-365-8124 as soon as possible.

scam
He called the number and the representative answered the phone by saying they were with the IRS. He then gave Clint his IRS badge number and looked up Clint’s case number. The represenative told him he owed $8,100 in taxes for mistakes on his tax forms from 2008-2014. The representative told Clint the amount owed included additional taxes and fees on top of the original amount owed as a result of the mistakes on the filed returns. This all seemed fishy.

Although Clint recognized that this was a scam, he decided to stay on the phone to see what would happen. He pressed the scammer for more details. Which exact tax year? How did they get the number $8,100? Was there another number he could call to verify the case worker’s badge number and his supposed case number? Apparently the number he called was the number to call to verify badge numbers. The representative also told him that his case number was not yet released so only the case worker on the phone and Clint knew about it. He gave Clint the ultimatum: pay the total owed now or appear in court. He was supposed to choose one of these options or else have an arrest warrant issued.

Lucky for Clint he immediately recognized the scam. What if this call we received by an elderly person? Or someone who less scam savvy? What about someone on probation or in other legal trouble who felt they could not risk having any additional legal complications? These scammers are tricky and professional. Leaving a phone number for you to call back makes it all the more “real” feeling.

Hopefully you will not be a victim of one of these IRS telephone scams but in case you do get a phone call from the “IRS” remember, the IRS will never

  1. Ask you to pay money immediately over the phone using a specific payment method.
  2. Use telephone contact as the first means of contact. The IRS generally sends a letter first so if you have not received a letter informing you of tax issues prior to receiving a call its most likely a scam.
  3. Threaten to bring in police or other local law enforcement arrest you if you cannot pay immediately.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card information over the phone.
  5. Demand that you pay immediately without having the opportunity to get more information or appeal the amount.

How to report a scam:

  • Do not give out any information to the IRS telephone scammer and hang up immediately.
  • Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Subscribe to our free Estate Planning Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our Estate Planning team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!