In the past two years I have noticed an increase in calls from taxpayers frightened by the IRS. They receive a threatening phone call where the “IRS” advises them they have missed previous notices and this is their last chance to pay before being hauled away to prison. Yelling, Screaming, and threatening is not how the Internal Revenue does business. Don’t be fooled by these scams, don’t give up your personal information, and do not send money to these thieves. The IRS estimates over $14 million has been paid to these con artists in the last two years alone.
How the IRS notifies taxpayers.
The IRS more often than not sends letters and certified mail. They do not send flyers or place phone calls especially before they attempt to reach you by mail. If something sounds strange or too good to be true use your common sense. The IRS has formal contact procedures set in place that they are required to abide by. A phone call from a revenue officer may occur but only after initial letters have been sent to the taxpayer.
What the IRS does not do.
- The IRS will not call without mailing a letter or bill to a taxpayer first.
- The IRS does not call and harass or threaten tax payers.
- The IRS does not scream and yell at taxpayers over the phone.
- The IRS does not demand payment without giving taxpayers a chance to ask questions or appeal.
- The IRS does not ask for credit card information over the phone.
- The IRS does not use email, texts, or social media to discuss tax matters.
How to detect the scam
- Did you receive a call stating that if you don’t pay immediately you will be taken to jail?
- Did an “IRS Agent” threaten you, and advise you if you tell an attorney you could be thrown in prison?
- Did the “IRS” agent require you to pay through specific payment method like prepaid debit card?
- Did you receive a call where they are asking for payment information over the phone?
- Did you receive a call where they threatened to bring the police to your house of place of business?
How they may trick you
- These scammers are able to alter the caller Id feature to make a phone call look like it came from an official IRS number.
- These scammers often say we have sent several letters already and this is your final notice.
- The scammers will leave voicemails that say it is urgent you call immediately.
How to protect yourself
Know your rights.
Be aware of IRS collection procedures.
Don’t be caught off guard.
Never provide personal information over the phone or by email.
The Bottom Line:
The IRS will not contact you by phone without first sending you letters. If think you might owe taxes call a reputable tax attorney to discuss your options. Don’t be bullied or harassed over the phone, as a taxpayer you do have rights. If you have no reason to believe that you owe taxes, report the scam to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484.