IRS Telephone Scams
Reports of aggressive and threatening phone calls by individuals impersonating IRS agents are on the rise as tax filing season gets underway.
Callers claim to be IRS employees and use fake names and badge numbers. They may know a lot about their victim, using the victim’s name, address, and other personal information to make the call appear legitimate. They usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They may claim that the victim owes a bogus tax bill and that failure to pay could result in arrest by local police. They tell the victim that their “bill” can be paid using iTunes gift cards, or some other type of pre-paid debit card. Once the victim purchases the gift cards, they are instructed to call the scammer and provide the card numbers. The scammer then cashes out the gift cards and steals the victim’s money.
According to the Internal Revenue Service website www.IRS.gov, the IRS will NEVER do any of the following:
• Call to demand immediate payment over the phone.
• Threaten to immediately bring in local police to have you arrested for not paying.
• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question the amount they say you owe.
• Require you to use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Demand payment for taxes without first having mailed a bill.
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do, do not give out any personal information and hang up immediately. Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 to report the call. Visit www.irs.gov and click on Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts to learn more.
Contact Detective Mike Bacon at (423) 585-2710 with any questions.