Beware of phone calls from fake IRS agents

Tax filers everywhere should be on the lookout for some crooks posing as IRS agents in an effort to steal money. The scammers prey on unwary victims who worry about a possible mistake they’ve made on their taxes. Scammers pose as IRS agents with the purpose of calling victims claiming they owe back taxes and demanding immediate payment through a money transfer or pre-paid debit card. Variations of the scam have been reported all over the country, including threats of losing driver’s licenses, businesses, deportation and jail time if payment is not completed.

These scammers can be extra clever. Sometimes they will know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number or other personal information. The calls will also appear legitimate if the scammer uses fake Caller ID software with a bogus IRS title or badge number.

Here are some safety precautions that will help protect yourself from falling victim to this crime:

The IRS doesn’t call or email you, they write. If the IRS determines that you may owe taxes, or that you may be the target of an audit, they will write you a letter (using old-fashioned snail mail, NOT email) to inform you. Therefore, anyone who is calling or emailing you claiming to be from the IRS is likely a crook. Do not follow any links or give out any personal information.

The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, nor will they require a specific form of payment for your taxes.

The IRS will never threaten to bring in law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you believe that you do in fact owe taxes, contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040. If it turns out you’ve been contacted by scammers, report the incident immediately to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at (800) 366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

Contact the IRS TIGTA