TELEPHONE SCAM WARNING ISSUED BY IRS

Scott Reddersen, CPA

Over the past several months, the IRS has issued several consumer alerts in response to telephone scam artists claiming to represent IRS agents.  Some of these callers use sophisticated and threatening tactics in an effort to persuade you to provide sensitive information.  While receiving one of these phone calls can be frightening, it is important to remember a few things about how these intimidation tactics differ from common IRS procedures.
The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment of taxes, nor will they call without having first mailed you a bill.  The IRS will never require you to use a specific method of payment (such as a prepaid debit card), nor will they request credit or debit card information over the phone.  Last, they will never threaten to utilize local law enforcement in order to persuade you to provide information.
If you have received a phone call from someone claiming to represent the IRS and using any of the above tactics, there are two ways to report the incident.  You may contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.  You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission using the FTC Complaint Assistant.  Choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams,” and include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in your complaint.
If you believe the phone call may be legitimate, it is important that you contact your tax advisor directly or the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 before providing any sensitive information over the phone.
The complete IRS consumer alert containing this information can be found here, and additional guidance on characteristics of these phone scams can be found here.

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