Issue Number: Tax Tip 2018-86
Taxpayers should know the telltale signs of a scam
Many taxpayers recently filed their taxes and may be waiting for a response from the IRS. Because of this summertime tends to be a period when thieves increase their scam attempts. They try to get people to disclose personal information like Social Security numbers, account information and passwords.
To avoid becoming a victim, taxpayers should remember these telltale signs of a scam:
The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury. Taxpayers should never make checks out 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.
- Use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.
For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do, they should:
- Not give out any information and hang up immediately.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a call or email. Recipients should also send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. They should add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do, they can:
- View tax account information online at IRS.gov to see the actual amount owed. Taxpayers can then also review their payment options.
- Call the number on the billing notice.
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.
- Taxpayer Bill of Rights
- How to know if it’s really the IRS calling or knocking at your door
- Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts
- Avoid scams: Know the facts on how the IRS contacts taxpayers
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 239.433.5554.