BEWARE! Criminals today are becoming more and more creative in their attempt to fool and trick consumers into divulging personal information, bank accounts and passwords.
As we have addressed in our recent blogs, there are many ways thieves will try to get your information: U.S. mail, telephone, credit cards, etc. Another avenue to your personal information is through a scare tactic using the IRS as the contacting entity.
Today, a client told me of a sophisticated and aggressive phone scam targeting unsuspecting taxpayers. Unfortunately, they were one of the targets and as a result, lost several thousand dollars before realizing it was not legitimate. This is not uncommon.
The scam starts with a phony IRS agent calling your home phone number and using fake names and fake badge numbers. The scammers generally use common surnames to identify themselves. The phone number they are calling from comes up on caller ID saying “IRS” and scammers sometimes can give the last four of the taxpayer’s social security number. The phony IRS agent then tells the taxpayer that they owe thousands of dollars in back taxes and threatens them with jail time, freezing of accounts, and drivers license revocation. Scammers will also have someone call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, this is what you should do:
- Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and discuss the tax years at issue with an IRS employee.
- If you have an accountant, call them immediately and discuss the tax years at issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have any reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
- You can file a complaint with the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose ‘other’ and then ‘Imposter Scams’.
It’s important to note that the IRS will always send taxpayers written notification of any tax due via U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for a credit card, debit card or prepaid credit card information over the telephone.
For more information on other IRS scams, visit www.irs.gov and type ‘scam’ in the search box. For all of your individual income tax questions, call Jenna Staton, EA, at 440-605-7222 in our Individual Income Tax Group.
We invite you to stay up-to-date with the latest business trends, tips and revenue-generating ideas affecting you and your business by subscribing to the Skoda Minotti Blog or by following us on LinkedIn, Twitter @skodaminotti, and Facebook or simply contact us at any one of our four office locations: Cleveland, Akron, Westlake or Tampa.