The IRS Phone Scam has been going on for 2 years and shows no sign of slowing down.
In this rip-off, imposters call, pretending to be from the IRS, claiming you owe tax and must pay immediately or lose your driver’s license, your business license, face deportation or go to jail.
The scam has been going for two years now, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has fielded reports of about 600,000 contacts and nearly 4,000 victims who have been scammed out of $20 million.
It works like this: A scammer calls, claiming to be an IRS agent or from another agency, such as a state motor vehicle registry, and says you owe tax and must pay immediately or face grave consequences. The callers will alter, or “spoof,” caller ID services to make it look like they are calling from the actual agency, and often research you online to pick up personal details to prove they have access to your records. They will even use official IRS titles and give out a badge number to identify themselves.
They will demand that you pay through an online service or untraceable cash or debit card, often directing victims to a bank or convenience store to make the payment.
The IRS has simple advice on how to handle these thieves: Just hang up. The IRS will not contact you by phone without first sending you a bill in the mail. And, the tax agency notes, the IRS does not demand immediate payment. In fact, the IRS maintains a pretty generous program to settle unpaid back taxes, charging just three percent interest on unpaid balances.
Now the tax scammers are spreading beyond the phone. In August 2015, the IRS warned that the con artists are copying official IRS letterhead to contact victims through email or regular mail. In another new twist, the crooks provide a real IRS address and tell the victim to mail the receipt for the payment to the agency.
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