There have been lots of folks pretending to be the IRS lately. If you have an IRS tax lien or IRS bank levies or IRS wage levies you could be a victim.
Listen to this story. We had a client from Alexandria, Louisiana who call us in a panic saying that an "IRS" person called him and threatened to put him in jail if he didn't pay up money right away to settle his taxes. They said the local Alexandria police department would be at his house in an hour to arrest him if he didn't give them money over the phone! Fortunately he is our client, and he called us to discuss the matter. We calmed him down, and reminded him that we had already settled his case with U.S. Tax Court and his balance was now zero.
Let us remind you that the IRS does not use local police to do its criminal work. Also, the IRS will not pre-announce it's coming to arrest someone for tax problems.
With that being said, here's the latest IRS Tax Tip on the issue:
"Tax scams that use email and phone calls that appear to come from the IRS are common these days. These scams often use the IRS name and logo or fake websites that look real.
Scammers often send an email or call to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. The crooks then use this information to commit identity theft or steal your money. Some call their victims to demand payment on a pre-paid debit card or by wire transfer. But the IRS will not initiate contact with you to ask for this information by phone or email."
If you get this type of 'phishing' email, the IRS offers this advice:
- Don't reply to the message.
- Don't open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.
- Don't give out your personal or financial information.
If you get an unexpected phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:
- Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
- If you think you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.
- If you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 to report the incident.
- You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission by using their "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Be alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS will not initiate contact with you through social media or text to ask for your personal or financial information.