Scammers are pretending to be the IRS, telling victims they owe taxes.
Watch out for scams as the tax filing season nears an end.
The Internal Revenue Service issued a warning for consumers about phone scams that are increasingly common.
The IRS says it will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due through U.S. mail. It never asks for credit or debit card numbers or prepaid card information over the phone.
Recent scams have targeted immigrants, and threatens them with deportation, arrest, and more. The IRS says potential victims are told they are entitled to large refunds, or that they owe money to the IRS.
Other common characteristics of these schemes include:
Use of fake names and IRS badge numbers. Those running the schemes generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Those running the scheme may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.
- The scheme can spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
- In some cases, a bogus IRS emails is sent to some victims to support bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, the callers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue - if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
- If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.