The IRS has issued a warning about a pervasive phone scam. The Treasury Inspector
General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) called it the largest scam of its kind. It has
received reports of over 20,000 contacts related to this scam, and thousands of
victims have paid over $1 million to fraudsters claiming to be from the IRS.
In this scam, the thief poses as an IRS agent and makes an unsolicited call to the
target. The caller tells the victim that he or she owes taxes to the IRS. The caller
demands that the victim pay the money immediately with a preloaded debit card or wire
transfer. The caller often threatens the victim with arrest, deportation, or
suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes
hostile and insulting. Thieves who run this scam often:
- Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
- Know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security Number.
- Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling.
- Send bogus IRS e-mails to support the bogus calls.
- Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles.
The caller ID again appears to support their claim.
You should know that the IRS usually first contacts people by mail, not by phone,
about unpaid taxes. Most importantly, an IRS agent will never ask for:
- PINs, passwords, or similar confidential information for credit card, bank, or
- Payment using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- A credit card number over the phone.
If you get a call from someone who claims to be with the IRS asking you to pay back
taxes, hang up.
If you owe or think you might owe federal taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 or
call us for help. If you don't owe taxes, call and report the incident to the TIGTA
at (800) 366-4484.
This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and
distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or
opinions on specific facts or matters, and, accordingly, assume no liability
whatsoever in connection with its use. The information contained in this newsletter
was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of (1)
avoiding tax-related penalties prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code or (2)
promoting or marketing any tax-related matter addressed herein. © 2014