receipts, bills, calculator

Beware of Scammers

Yesterday my 14 year old son received an interesting phone call from the “IRS.” The call came from a number my son did not recognize and since he does not answer calls from numbers he does not know the caller left a message.  The message stated that my son was behind on his taxes and there was a warrant for his arrest that the local “cops” would enforce.

After listening to the message I decided this would be a good topic to blog about.

There were a few things about this call that helped me determine it was a scam.  First, my 14 year old son has never had a job.  Second, the IRS will NEVER contact you by phone.  Finally, the words used.  Cops is slang, a true business would not use this word.

Over the last several years scams like this one have increased dramatically.  So how do you know if it really is the IRS contacting you?  First, the IRS will not contact you and threaten to have you arrested or deported.  Second, they will notify you of your rights as a taxpayer.  You have the right to question or appeal the amount owed.  Finally, they will not demand immediate payment.  Typically, a bill would have been mailed if you owed taxes.

The IRS generally starts all contact with taxpayers through regular United States Postal Service mail delivery.  At times there are special circumstances where the IRS will call or personally visit a home or business, but even then the taxpayer will receive several letters from the IRS in the mail.  If a representative from the IRS visits you they will always provide you with two forms of official identification a HSPD-12 card and a pocket commission.  These are official credentials that you have a right to see and verify the information to confirm the representatives identity.

If the IRS is trying to collect a debt you owe they will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit card or gift card.  The IRS will instruct you to make payment only to the United States Treasury.  They will also provide specific guidelines on how to make your tax payment.   You can learn more about IRS payment options at IRS.gov/payments.

These scams come in may shapes and forms including phone calls, letters, and e-mails.  If you believe you are being targeted by a scam you can report it.  To report a phone scam you can call: 800-366-4484, report an e-mail at: phishing@irs.gov

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