The always inventive fraudsters are using your fear of the IRS against you again.
First it was the calls demanding payment. Now it’s calls to verify your personal information.
These calls seem very real. The will spoof their caller ID so it looks like they are coming from a known IRS phone number. They will say they have your tax return in front of them and need more information to process it. It all seems very legitimate. They may have enough personal information about you to convince you that they are in fact legitimate.
They are not legitimate.
Although it’s not completely accurate to state that the IRS will “never” call you about your return, it’s pretty close to true. And if you refuse to talk to them, it’s not going to be the end of the world, even if by some chance it is the IRS. Request that they correspond with you at your address on record. Don’t give them your address or any other personal information. They may make threats. Those threats are empty – the IRS, despite all the politicians’ campaign pronouncements, is required to follow procedures and allow you due process. If you want to tease them, ask for their badge number and to speak with their supervisor. This usually will convince them to hang up.
According to the IRS itself, these are the signs of a scam:
-Calls to demand immediate payment over the phone. The IRS will not call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills, including at least one sent certified mail.
-Calls or emails to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information. (The IRS with only rare exceptions, never uses email. There is no spot on a tax filing for your email address.)
-Demands that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
-Requirements that you use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. (Seriously, why would the IRS take prepaid credit or debit cards in payment? They prefer checks – no transaction fees.)
-Requests for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
-Threats to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying. (The IRS has its own enforcement personnel.)
If you get such a call, and you’re uncertain about what to do, you can always contact our office to run it by us. Often just explaining what’s going on is enough to make it clear that the call is just an attempt to defraud you. But make no mistake, these people are very good and will have you convinced that they are legitimate. Don’t let your fear of the IRS overwhelm you if you should receive such a call.