In a recent Information Release, the IRS has warned taxpayers of an increase in IRS impersonation scams employing automated telephone calls demanding tax payments be made on iTunes and other gift cards. The IRS has seen an increase in automated phone calls where scammers leave urgent messages demanding that taxpayers call back to settle an outstanding tax bill. These calls claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. When the taxpayer calls back, the scammers threaten the taxpayer with arrest, deportation, or revocation of their driver’s license if they don’t pay up.
In the most recent scam phone calls, the scammers are demanding payments be made on iTunes and other gift cards. Taxpayers should be aware that any request to settle a tax bill by putting money on any form of gift card is a clear indication of a scam.
These fake calls can take many forms and the scammers are constantly changing their tactics. Other scams may include: (a) demanding payment for a non-existent Federal student loan; (b) soliciting Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) information from payroll and human resources professionals; (c) pretending to be an IRS agent verifying tax return information over the phone; or (d) pretending to be a representative of a tax preparation firm.
Knowing the telltale signs of a scammer is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. Taxpayer should be aware that the IRS will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, or call about taxes owed without first having mailed the taxpayer a bill.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that the taxpayer pay taxes without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Require that the taxpayer use a specific payment method for the taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If an individual gets a phone call from someone claiming to be from IRS and asking for money, the taxpayer should not give out any information. Instead, the taxpayer should: (a) hang up immediately; (b) contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to report the scam phone call on the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484; and (c) report it to the Federal Trade Commission (using “FTC Complaint Assistant” on https://ftc.gov./, and adding “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes). If taxpayer thinks he might owe taxes, the taxpayer should call IRS directly at 800-829-1040.
Please contact one of our tax attorneys at 937-223-1130 or Jsenney@pselaw.com if you have any questions about this blog post or if you need any assistance with a federal or state tax matter.