IRS Advises Against Scams

In relation to widespread cybercrime occurring across the country (stay tuned for our blogs on healthcare cybercrime next week), BiggsKofford has also been made aware of extensive scams occurring over the phone. These fraudulent phone calls involve individuals claiming to be IRS representatives who demand payment.

“There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail.”

According to the IRS, the scammers claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service and tell their victims that they either owe money that must be paid immediately, or they are told that they are entitled to large tax refunds. If the scammer is not successful, they may try to call again with a different strategy.

Here are some things to know:

  • The IRS will never call and ask for credit cards information over the phone. This applies to credit, debit and prepaid cards.
  • The IRS will never insist that the tax payer use a specific payment method. Tax payment methods are up to the taxpayer’s discretion.
  • An IRS agent will never request immediate payment of debts over the phone and will never threaten law enforcement action if you refuse to pay following a phone conversation.
  • The IRS will frequently provide taxpayers with prior notification of IRS tax liens or levies. Be cautious if you have not received any notices.

Please be very wary of callers claiming to be an IRS employee that meet any or all of the above criteria, and do not share any personal or financial information with them over the phone—this material includes PIN numbers, passwords, or similar confidential data. On another note, the IRS will not contact you by email, text, or social media to request personal or financial material. If you do receive an electronic communication claiming to be from the IRS but are skeptical, forward the message to phishing@irs.gov.

If you believe you are being targeted as part of a scam, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov.