IRS warning of continued tax-related scams nationwide

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Tax season may be over, but tax-related scams are continuing across the nation, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS is advising people to remain alert to new and emerging schemes involving the tax system.

EFTPS Scam

A new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) has been reported nationwide. In this ruse, con artists call to demand immediate tax payment. Authorities say the caller claims to be from the IRS and says that two certified letters mailed to the taxpayer were returned as undeliverable. The scammer then threatens arrest if a payment is not made immediately by a specific prepaid debit card. Victims are told that the debit card is linked to the EFTPS when it is actually controlled by the scammer. Victims are warned not to talk to their tax preparer, attorney, or the local IRS office until after the payment is made.

Robocall Messages

The IRS is reminding people they do not call and leave prerecorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. In this tactic, scammers tell victims if they do not call back, a warrant will be issued for their arrest. Those who don’t respond are told they must make immediate payment either by a specific prepaid debit card or by wire transfer.

Private Debt Collection Scams

The IRS recently began sending letters to a small group of taxpayers whose overdue federal tax accounts are being assigned to one of four private-sector collection agencies. Taxpayers should be on the lookout for scammers posing as private collection firms. The IRS-authorized firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had – and has been aware of – for years. The IRS would have previously contacted taxpayers about their tax debt.

Scams Targeting People with Limited English Proficiency

Taxpayers with limited English proficiency have been recent targets of phone scams and email phishing schemes. Con artists often approach victims in their native language, threaten them with deportation, police arrest and license revocation among other things. They tell their victims they owe the IRS money and must pay it promptly through a preloaded debit card, gift card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone robocalls or via a phishing email.

IRS officials are reminding the public that the IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. The IRS will usually first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you don’t owe taxes and have no reason to think you owe taxes:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov and add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you owe or think you owe taxes:

  • View tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount you owe, then review payment options.
  • Call the number on the billing notice, or call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

Remember, the IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by USPS. But there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, including the following:

  • When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill
  • To secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment
  • To tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations

Officials say even in special circumstances, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters or “notices” from the IRS in the mail.

For more information, visit the IRS website.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s