If the IRS calls, how do I know it is really them?

June 15, 2017

 

How to spot a fraudster

The frequency of fraudsters claiming to be the IRS, the CRA, or HMRC continues to go up. Here is a copy-and-paste quote from the IRS' website (Emphasis added):

 

"IR-2014-84, Aug. 28, 2014

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill..
     

  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
     

  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
     

  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
     

  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
     

  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
     

  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Impostor Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.  

Remember, too, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

Additional information about tax scams are available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube and Tumblr where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts."

 

 

How to know if it is the IRS on the other end of the line.

The IRS will cold call taxpayers from time to time. 

 

Here is another copy-and-paste from the IRS' website:

 

"FS-2017-07, April 19, 2017

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.

Note that the IRS does not:

  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.

  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.

  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes."

For the entire article please click here.

 

www.ustaxresources.ca

 

About the author: Ian Davis is currently Canada’s only former IRS auditor; and Founder and President of US Tax Resources Inc. A Canadian firm whose mission is to provide stress relief from US tax through simple and affordable tax preparation and advisory services.

 

Ian is a dual US/Canadian citizen living with his family in Canada.

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

New 2017 IRS Audit Stats: Bad news for Expats

March 29, 2018

1/1
Please reload

Recent Posts
Please reload

Archive
Please reload

Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Social Icon

Nous nous excusons pour la gêne occasionnée, mais les informations ci-dessous doivent être communiquées en anglais.

© US Tax Resources Inc.

See "Important Information" for restrictions and clarifications, and our privacy policy. 

  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon

All rights reserved.

 

Circular 230 disclosure: Any US tax advice contained in this webpage is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under US federal, state or local tax law.