In a recent statement, the IRS advises that over 4000 people have been cheated to the tune of 20 million dollars by various tax schemes currently in vogue. These scammers operate by scaring people into believing that they must act immediately to avoid arrest, deportation and other frightening consequences unless they send money immediately. They even have the ability to cause your call scanner to reflect that the call is from the IRS. They also use official looking letters and emails.
The IRS warns that the only official website for the IRS is www.irs.gov. They also advise that they would never do any of the following, which scammers often do:
- Demand payment immediately over the phone in a first contact initiated by them. They would first send you a bill.
- Threaten to have local police arrest you for not paying them.
- Demand payment without providing an opportunity to challenge the amount claimed. (However, be aware that if you move and don’t notify the IRS of your new address, that notice may never reach you).
- Specify that payment must be by credit card or debit card.
- Ask for credit card or debit card information over the phone.
If you have been targeted by a scammer, call the IRS. If you owe taxes, call 1-800- 829-1040. If you don’t owe taxes, call 1-800-366-4484. Remember not to panic. If you receive a call and don’t know what to do, think about these warnings and seek help.