Our lower Manhattan tax office shares this important information about the potential for tax scams this tax season.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about aggressive phone scams this tax season. These scams typically involve callers posing as IRS representatives who tell taxpayers that they owe money to the IRS which must be paid immediately using a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer or be subject to serious penalties such as jail time, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. These callers may have foreign accents and offer bogus IRS badge numbers. They may also spoof the IRS toll-free number on your caller ID.
These scammers may also call potential victims telling them that certified letters were sent in the mail but were returned as undeliverable, then threaten to arrest the potential victim if a payment is not immediately made through a prepaid debit card. Thieves may also use phishing and other schemes to steal sensitive data from taxpayers which is then used to file fraudulent tax returns and deposit invalid tax refunds into taxpayers’ real bank accounts. The scammers then pose as the IRS or debt collection officials to call taxpayer and demand the funds be returned to them.
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Don’t engage or respond with scammers. Follow these tips from the IRS if you receive a suspicious phone call or message:
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you do not owe tax, or if you are immediately aware that it’s a scam, don’t engage with the scammer and do not give out any information. Just hang up.
- If you receive a telephone message from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you do not owe tax, or if you are immediately aware that it’s a scam, don’t call them back.
- If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, and you owe tax or think you may owe tax, do not give out any information. Call the IRS back at 1.800.829.1040 to find out more information.
- You can also contact Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report scam calls by calling 1.800.366.4484 or by using the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” form on their website. You may also want to report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report persons pretending to be from the government; please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Avoid being a victim of a tax scam by keeping your personal information safe and remaining alert. If you have questions about your 2018 tax return, please contact our NYC CPA office.