Scams continue to be a problem for the IRS and taxpayers. Here are four recent scams to be aware of so you do not become a victim of the ever more sophisticated scammers:
- EFTPS scams. Con artists claim to be from the IRS and say that two certified letters mailed to the taxpayer were returned as undeliverable. The scammer then threatens arrest if a payment is not made immediately by a specific prepaid debit card. Victims are told that the debit card is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) when, in reality, it is controlled entirely by the scammer.
- Robo-calls. The IRS does not use prerecorded, urgent messages asking for a call back. Victims who respond to these scam calls are told they must make an immediate payment by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- Private collection services. Scammers are posing as IRS authorized debt collection services and demand immediate payment. The IRS-authorized firms will only be calling about a tax debt the person has had (and has been aware of) for years.
- Scams targeting people with limited English proficiency. Scammers will often approach victims using their native language, threatening them with arrest, deportation, and license revocation. They tell their victims they require prompt payment and may leave urgent callback requests via robo-calls or phishing emails.
Remember, the IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. The IRS will usually first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable 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.
If you think you are the target of a scam, hang up immediately. Do not give out any information or make any payments. Follow up with your accountant for further guidance. You can also contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage or by calling 800-366-4484.
More tips and information from the IRS are available here.