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19 June 2018

Hang Up on This Local Tax Scam

Hang Up on This Local Tax Scam

Is it really the IRS calling? Probably not. An increasing number of taxpayers are becoming savvy when it comes to detecting when an IRS call is legitimate. But then, just as you can count on death and taxes, you can count on criminals changing up the game. This latest scam proves it.

Criminals are now using telephone numbers that mimic IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to trick taxpayers into paying non-existent tax bills.

Here’s how it works:

You receive a call claiming to be from a local IRS TAC office demanding payment for an overdue tax bill. The caller ID matches up because the scam artist has programmed their computer to display the TAC telephone number. After you question them, they direct you to IRS.gov to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify the phone number. They may even hang up, wait briefly, and call back, giving you time to verify the number. According to the IRS, fraudsters have been similarly spoofing local sheriff’s offices, departments of motor vehicles, federal agencies, and other legitimate entities.

But here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • IRS employees at TAC offices do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of overdue tax bills. 
  • The IRS will never demand you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. You will receive payment information by mail, or you can pay online via IRS.gov/payments.  
  • The IRS will never call and threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have you arrested or threaten to revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status for not paying your taxes.
  • Now that you know caller ID numbers can be spoofed, be skeptical. After you verify the number is legitimate, don’t wait for them to call again. Call the number back yourself.

The IRS offers a specific form to fill out to report IRS impersonation scams. When you receive these calls, take a moment to fill out the form.

Image Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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