IRS warns people of tax scam dangers

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning the public on the tax scams that people could face in 2017.

According to a statement released by IRS officials Thursday, aggressive and threatening phone calls by people impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers.

Alleged scammers, according to IRS officials, make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials, and demanding that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. The alleged scammer, according to the statement, con the victim into sending cash, usually through a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card or gift card. In addition, IRS officials said the alleged scammer may leave urgent callback requests through robo-calls, or a phishing e-mail.

Scammers, according to officials, often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling, and the callers use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate.

Many phone scams, according to IRS officials, use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying, and may threaten to arrest, deport, or revoke the driver's license of the victim if they don't get the money.

IRS, according to the statement, will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, using a specific payment method. The IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes
  • 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

The IRS is asking taxpayers who don't owe taxes, or don't think they do, to not give out any information and hang up immediately when they get a call they believe to be a scam. In addition, those who received such calls are asked to  contact the Federal Trade Commission and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

To learn more about tax scams, click here.


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