Beware the Fake IRS Call – Scammers Trying to Steal From You!
Thanksgiving morning, 7:50 am, I got a phone call. I was quite amazed when the person claimed to be from the IRS. He informed me that there is a serious problem with my taxes. My only response to this first call was to laugh and hang up. The person called back. I said, this is clearly a fraudulent call. Cut it out. He called back a third time. I swore at him. He called back and told me I had better be careful, he is from the IRS. He called a total of 6 times, only stopping when I said, “It is Thanksgiving. The IRS is closed. Get lost.” Then I called him back. He answered, “IRS, how can I help you.” I said, “what’s your name.” He answered, “John Carter.” Right, I thought. “I’m reporting you to the IRS, I said.” And I hung up.
Some quick research told me that this kind of fake IRS call is very common.
Signs it is a Fake IRS Call
1. The caller often calls when the IRS is closed. I suppose because the scammers think that if you cannot check with the IRS, you will panic and pay what they are asking.
2. The callers normally have heavy accents.
3. They will insist there is something wrong with your taxes or your account. But they cannot give you any specific details. Sometimes they will have the last four digits of your social security number.
4. They are calling from non-IRS related phone numbers. A common number is 530-377-6497.
5. If you call back, they will immediately answer the call. Try calling the IRS directly some time. You won’t normally get to a human being without a couple of recordings.
6. There is normally noise in the background, so it sounds like a call center.
7. The caller threatens you with arrest, deportation and other serious penalties.
8. Sometimes, once the call ends, others will call back stating they are police or other officials and they will come after you if you don’t pay.
9. They ask for immediate payment by wire or some other rapid means.
Do You Owe Taxes?
The IRS rarely calls out of the blue. Normally, it will send you a letter explaining the situation. If you are not sure whether you owe taxes, call the IRS directly to find out. The number is 1.800.829.1040. Never pay anyone over the phone. Don’t listen to their threats. Yes, failure to pay taxes can cause problems. But the IRS doesn’t conduct itself the way the people do on the phone calls.
Report the Fake IRS Call
If you get one of these calls, please report it. You can do so through on the web at the Treasury’s website, or by calling 1-800-366-4484.
Don’t get scammed by these terrible people. If you get a fake IRS call, hang up (on the repeated calls) and contact the Treasury right away so they can keep track of the scammers.