Although I have been warning you about this particular scam for a long time, most recently in my Scam of the Day for March 1, 2014, another warning is warranted in the light of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration disclosing that so far in 2014 there have been more than 90,000 complaints to the IRS about scam telephone calls in which a scam artist calls an unwary victim and pretends that the scammer is calling from the IRS. The person receiving the telephone call is told that he or she must pay an overdue tax amount immediately by way of credit card, debit card, cash card or wired funds or there will be harsh penalties including jail time. Already this year, this scam has cost American taxpayers millions of dollars.
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.