IRS - IMPERSONATION TELEPHONE SCAM
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, including the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number, and may alter the caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling. The scammers may also send an email supporting their bogus calls. Victims may hear background noise making it sound like the call is being generated at a call center.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately and through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In some cases the caller states that the taxpayer will be sued. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. In some cases they have hung up on the victim and someone calls back pretending to be from the local police or DMV and the caller supports their claim.
In other cases the victims are being told they have a refund due and try to trick them into sharing private and confidential information. Such as, full Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, PIN numbers or passwords. If phone calls are not answered the scammers leave an "urgent" callback request.
Note that the IRS will never:
Call to demand an immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
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.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through any type of electronic communication, such as email, text message or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recipients should not open any attachments, click on any links contained in the message or answer or respond to any calls from phone number 202-470-6020. Instead should you receive a call stating you owe taxes report the incident to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or forward any emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.