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Don’t Fall for New Tax Scam Tricks by IRS Posers

posted Aug 13, 2015, 9:49 PM by Zaher Fallahi

Although the tax season is over, tax scammers work year-round. The IRS advises you to stay alert to protect yourself against new ways criminals pose as the IRS to steal your money or personal information. These scams first tried to sting elderly Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those who speak very little English. The crooks have expanded their net, and now try to swindle virtually anyone. Here are tips from the IRS to help you avoid being a victim of these scams:

 

Scams use scare tactics.  These aggressive and sophisticated scams try to scare people into making a false tax payment that ends up with the criminal. Many phone scams use threats to try to intimidate you so you will pay them money. They often threaten arrest or deportation, or that they will revoke your license if you don’t pay. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests, sometimes through “robo-calls,” via phone or email. The emails will often contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for you to call back.

 

Scams use caller ID spoofing.  Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use online resources to get your name, address and other details about you to make the call sound official.

 

Scams use phishing email and regular mail.  Scammers copy official IRS letterhead to use in email or regular mail they send to innocent victims. In another new variation, schemers provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for their payment. All in an attempt to make the scheme appear official.

 

Scams cost victims over $20 million.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of about 600,000 contacts since October 2013. TIGTA is also aware of nearly 4,000 victims who have collectively reported over $20 million in financial losses as a result of tax scams. Note. One such unscrupulous imposter had called May office and threatened me. My office manager had told him that I was a Tax Attorney and defend taxpayers and victims, and he is in court today. The caller had told her “then, I have no alternative but to send someone to arrest Mr. Fallahi”.

 

The real IRS:

1-      Will not call you to demand immediate payment.

2-      Will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.

3-      Will not demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount that you owe.

4-      Will not require that you pay your taxes a certain way; require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.

5-      Will not ask for credit or debit card numbers on the phone.

6-      Will not threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying taxes.

 

If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

1-      Do not furnish any information to the caller, and hang up immediately.

2-      Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) ’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.

3-      In addition, you should report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe taxes:

1-      Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and obtain assistance from IRS staff if you do owe taxes.

2-      Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

 

Zaher Fallahi, CPA, Tax Attorney, practices as an IRS Defense Tax Attorney and helps taxpayers including Americans Living Abroad and Non-Resident Aliens subject to the US tax law, resolve their tax controversies with respect to their Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Foreign Trust.  Telephones: (310) 719-1040 (Los Angeles), (714) 546-4272 (Orange County), e-mail taxattorney@zfcpa.com

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