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IRS Warns of Scams
The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
State authorities are warning Massachusetts residents about a nationwide phone scam that aggressively targets taxpayers. The state attorney's general's office says it has received several complaints about the scam. The scammer usually claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service or another government agency, and tells the target they will be arrested because they did not pay or did not correctly file state or federal taxes.
IRS Scam Alert - phone, email, social media...
A caller says he's from the IRS and your caller ID shows the call is coming from the IRS. And, the caller knows the last four digits of your Social Security Number, so it seems like he really is calling from the IRS. But, it's not.
The caller says you owe taxes and must pay immediately via a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Refuse and you're threatened with arrest, deportation or the suspension of your business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. ("bullying")
If you give the caller your credit card information, he'll transfer your money into his pocket.
"The IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. "If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling." Almost every contact with the IRS starts with a letter.
The IRS does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. If you get an email claiming to be from IRS, don't open any attachments and don't click on any of the links. --> Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS won't text you or contact you via social media. No real IRS official would ever ask for your PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
Other characteristics of this scam:
fake names and fake IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
A spoof IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls. Victims can expect to hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or RMV and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at (800.) 829-1040. The IRS can help you with a payment issue -- if there really is such an issue.
If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (e.g., you've never received a bill or the caller made [some] bogus threats as described above), call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.
If you've already been targeted by this scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant...and please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.