According to the IRS, there has been an increase in tax scams involving pervasive telephone calls. These scam artists pretend to be from the IRS or other official organizations and may contact consumers in hopes of getting the person to reveal information so that the scammers can use it to steal money or identities from victims. There are a number of variations on this. For example, callers may say the victims owe money, are entitled to a huge refund, or are threatened with legal action for not revealing information. Scammers may place calls during times when it might be inconvenient to contact the IRS for verification. The IRS has noted a few patterns in these calls such as:
- Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers use fake names/badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call center.
- After threatening victims with legal action, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you can’t recall an outstanding and legitimate tax, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you know you don’t owe taxes, your case to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484.