Reality check: It is NOT the IRS on the other end of the line
Telephone scams are not new, but it seems that scammers are devising new twists at an alarming rate. Currently a scam where the caller impersonates an IRS employee is concerning. The caller demands payment for taxes and they are skilled at providing official sounding badge numbers and other details that sound quite convincing. Unfortunately, many innocent taxpayers are falling prey and losing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
No one is immune from these tactics, in fact, one of our staff members recently received a call. Our staff member didn’t provide any information despite some aggressive attempts and threats. The impersonator even called back a few minutes later identifying themselves as a member of the local sheriff’s office and stated they were on the way to arrest him for failing to provide the information requested during the first call.
Here are some important tips to remember about how the IRS collects taxes:
The IRS or its authorized agents WILL NEVER:
- Use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues involving bills or refunds.
- Call to demand immediate payment through a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Protect yourself by hanging up immediately, do not give out or confirm any information. If you would like to report the call here are several ways to do so:
- IRS.gov has a section labeled “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” or you can call 1-800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” tab and include “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
If you are a client of LWG and have received a call that you think is suspicious or you are concerned that you might owe the IRS please call us and we can assist you.
Another common scam the IRS wants businesses to be aware of concerns phishing of Form W-2 information. Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resource department, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).
If you believe there has been an attempt or successful theft of information, let us at LWG know. We can assist you with the steps to take to report the attempt or theft.
Each day, unsuspecting companies and individuals are losing money to these scams. Guard your personal and financial information carefully. If you receive any type of phone call where you are asked for this type of information, ask for a telephone number to call them back.
If you have any questions, please contact us at www.lwgcpa.com. We would be happy to help!