For most of us, tax season is already stressful enough. Having to worry about scammers claiming to be from the IRS? That makes it that much worse.
While IRS and tax scams happen year-round, they are particularly common during tax season. These impostors will stop at nothing trying to scare folks out of their hard-earned money, and they have lots of ways to make their scam look convincing.
One massive fraud scheme, eventually busted by federal authorities, involved India-based call centers and U.S.-based co-conspirators. Older Americans were among the prime targets.
How It Works
Typically, it begins with a phone call. The caller ID may even indicate it’s from the IRS because scammers have technology to fake that. The message is generally similar: You owe back taxes, and must make immediate payment or face arrest . . .
The scammer will demand that you pay your supposed obligation by wire transfer, or by purchasing gift cards and supplying the number and PIN on the card.
What You Should Know
Most of these government impostor calls begin as a robocall, with the message either directing you to press a number on your keypad to be connected with a live agent, or to call back using the number provided.
The real IRS typically initiates communication by mail, including in cases of delinquent taxes. The agency may contact you by phone only after you have received and not responded to multiple written notices.
No federal agency accepts payment for any obligation by wire transfer or gift card. In 100% of these scenarios, it is a scam.
What You Should Do
If you get a call like this, do not press a number to be connected to a live agent or call back on the number provided.
If you think you may owe taxes, call the IRS at tel:800-829-1040 or visit irs.gov/balancedue.