BEWARE - Taxpayers are receiving telephone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS, but they are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
- Scammers make unsolicited calls. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave "urgent" callback requests through phone "robo-calls," or via phishing email.
- Callers try to scare their victims. Many telephone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they do not get the money.
- Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers 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.
- Cons try new tricks all the time. Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official looking IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
Note that the IRS will never:
- call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
- demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
- require you to use a specific 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 groups to have you arrested for not paying
Please do not give out any information over the phone. Hang up immediately.
The IRS has also been alerted to a new email phishing scam. The emails appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a bogus web site intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction "you are to update your IRS e-file immediately." The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"). These emails are not from the IRS. Taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, they should forward the scam emails to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit the IRS's Report Phishing web page. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
This has been compiled from several articles on the IRS website.