Although I have been warning you about this particular scam for years, another warning is warranted in the light of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosing last week that since October of 2013 there have been reports of approximately 736,000 people being called by scammers posing as IRS agents demanding immediate payment of overdue taxes by credit card, prepaid debit cards or wired funds. Often the scammers threaten their victims with criminal charges, deportation or loss of a driver’s license. According to J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS is aware of about 4,550 victims who have paid more than 23 million dollars to these scammers. Unfortunately, the real figure of victims and money lost is most likely far in excess of these figure.
This scam is easy to spot. The IRS will never initiate communications with a taxpayer by phone so if someone calls you purporting to be from the IRS in an initial effort to collect overdue taxes, you should hang up because it is a scam. Even if your Caller ID appears to show that the call is from the IRS, this does not mean that the call actually is from the IRS. Through a technique called “spoofing” a scammer can make the call appear to be legitimate, but it is not. The IRS will never demand payment by credit card, debit card, cash card or wired funds through an initial telephone call. If you think that you really may owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to speak to a real IRS employee. If you receive a scam call, you may wish to report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.