There is an IRS scam which has been going on for quite some time and in recent times has gained larger and broader proportions. So what is this IRS scam?
In simple language, these are fraudsters who impersonate themselves as IRS officers and target taxpayers by calling them and say that you owe money to IRS. Victims are then persuaded to pay through pre-loaded debit cards or wire transfer.
How does this IRS scam work: these scammers use phone spoofing techniques to appear as legitimate IRS number or VoIP based phone numbers to callback the customers. They also follow other tactics such as;
- Use of fake names and IRS badge numbers and generally use common names
- They may have access to last 4 digits of social security number
- They send bogus emails originating from IRS
- They threaten victims with jail revocation of other government documents and push to act quickly
- They hang up and callback again to from local police department to further threaten the victim
- Typically they call from same area phone numbers
Sample of transcript that hear on calls
- Hello, this is officer Jack Smith calling from Federal Investigation Department, tax and crime investigation unit of IRS
- You owe $4500 in pending taxes to IRS and this call is recorded and monitored by IRS
- We have invoked internal revenue code 6331(h)
- The IRS shall mark a lien on your assets
- The IRS will freeze your bank accounts and your social security number will be blacklisted
- The IRS will revoke your passport and if you are non American, you will be deported
- To resolve this situation, you need to pay $2800 by means of cash (no credit card/debit card) or wire the amount or use Tax Pay voucher from government store
- Hurry up, the local police is on its way to arrest you
- Give us the confirmation number, and finally
- You are free now. The matter is now settled
What should you do: IRS will never give threatening calls and demand immediate payment or police action. In case you receive any such call;
- Note down the calling number and disconnect the call immediately
- Do not give out any information. Remember, you will be forced to take decision quickly
- Think calmly and do not get impatient
- Call IRS no 1-800-829-1040 and inform them. Also ask if you owe any taxes and how to pay
- Also report the incident to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484
- You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose "Other" and then "Imposter Scams"
- If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes
Be aware that there are various other scams like lottery sweepstakes, debt relief solicitations that fraudulently claim to be from IRS. You should be vigilant against phone, email, postal mail based scams. Whenever you get any such calls or mails, contact directly the concerned department.
Always be confident and if you have not done anything wrong, then you should not be afraid of anyone.
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