It’s still happening. It happened to me just last week. I came home to a voicemail telling me that four warrants are out for my arrest and I need to pay up or turn myself in. Of course, the caller conveniently provided a callback number. The caller also sounded automated. Who would fall for that? You might be surprised…
Hundreds of unsuspecting taxpayers are still being defrauded of thousands of dollars. Otherwise, the scam callers would stop. It wouldn’t be worth their time. Taxpayers should not take the bait and fall for this trick. But it can be really intimidating to get a threatening call about what is already a scary topic – your taxes.
Four tips to help taxpayers avoid getting scared enough to become a scam victim:
- The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
- The real IRS will not:
- Call to demand immediate payment
- Call someone who owes taxes without first sending a bill in the mail
- Demand tax payment without allowing the taxpayer to appeal the amount owed
- Require a taxpayer to pay in a certain way, such as with a prepaid debit card
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
- Threaten to bring in law enforcement to arrest a taxpayer who doesn’t pay
- Threaten a lawsuit
- Special circumstances when the IRS will come to a home or business include:
- When a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill
- When the IRS needs to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment
- To tour a business as part of an audit
- As part of a criminal investigation
- IRS Revenue Agents who may conduct a visit to a taxpayers home or business carry two forms of official identification that have serial numbers. Taxpayers can check both IDs. Revenue Agents conducting audits may call taxpayers to set up appointments, after having first notified them by mail. By the time the IRS visits a taxpayer at home, the taxpayer would be well aware of the audit.
Have you been called or visited by someone impersonating the IRS? Don’t be scared or intimidated. Hang up the phone and visit IRS.gov for information about how to detect and report tax scams.