In the past few years, the IRS has continued to see instances of scammers who are targeting victims by telephone. The scammers make aggressive and threatening phone calls to individuals, claiming that a warrant is out for his or her arrest for unpaid taxes.
How can you spot these calls? First, keep in mind that the IRS rarely uses telephonic communication; in fact, the threat of IRS scammers has prompted the IRS to altogether avoid making contact by telephone. Second, be alert for a caller who claims to be an “IRS investigating officer” and makes the following requests:
- Urges you not to hang up the phone.
- Asks you not to tell anyone else what you are doing.
- Tells you to find the nearest “government store” to get step-by-step instructions for paying the alleged unpaid tax bill.
Keep in mind that the IRS will never do the following: demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount 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; or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
Nonetheless, there are many variations of these IRS scams and many still fall victim to these tactics. IRS scammers may send letters that look nearly identical to legitimate correspondence. Making matters more difficult, correspondence that is actually from the IRS may contain important deadlines and should not be ignored. If you receive communication from someone claiming to be with the IRS, you may consider contacting the IRS directly from a verified contact method (www.irs.gov).