As the tax deadline approaches, scammers are working hard to steal money from unsuspecting victims
Most of us know it’s not a good idea to get on the Internal Revenue Service’s bad side, so a call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent would have to be rather scary. Unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of that fear and steal your money if they can.
Your BBB frequently gets calls from consumers who have been called by scammers pretending to be IRS agents. Make sure you’re dealing with a real IRS representative, especially when they request personal information or a wire transfer.
Victims of the scam are told they owe the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) money, which must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or via wire transfer. The scammers threaten them with arrest, loss of a business or driver’s license or deportation if they don’t cooperate.
Scammers sometimes use fake names and badge numbers–sometimes they even know the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. They also use tricks like spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID, sending bogus IRS emails and calling back pretending to be police or some other official.
Remember the IRS usually first contacts people by mail–not by phone–about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, BBB advises:
- If you possibly owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to be sure you are speaking with a real IRS employee.
- If you know you don’t think you owe taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administrationat 1-800-366-4484.
- Also, contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistantat FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
- Report the scam to BBB through the Scam Tracker.