Phony IRS reps still making scam calls – know the warning signs

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As time ticks on, and the world changes, there is one scam that is apparently not losing steam: the IRS scam.

A scammer will call pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service.  Reports indicate that the phony IRS representative may demand an immediate payment for a tax bill; possibly even threatening the victim with a bogus lawsuit.

In mid-May 2016, both Bureau County and Jo Daviess County Sheriffs Departments said that they had been hearing numerous complaints about this scam.

The IRS is not naive to these scams either. They’ve published a list of red flags to watch for if you think you may be a victim.

The following information is from IRS.gov:

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.