Phones at the Better Business Bureau are ringing off the hook with consumers who have received threatening calls “from the IRS!” These are scams.
The phony robocall leaves a 202 area code (fake) to call back. Consumers who return the call get an angry, abusive “IRS agent” who tells them that they owe thousands of dollars to IRS and that they will be prosecuted or arrested if they don’t send money immediately. Victims are asked for credit or debit card numbers. The IRS estimates that millions of dollars have been stolen from consumers by overseas thieves using these scare tactics.
The IRS is reminding people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do, but the IRS will never do. Anyone of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
The IRS has formal processes in place for people with tax issues. These angry, shake-down calls are NOT from the IRS.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov