Have you received a call from the IRS asking you to pay your taxes immediately, or face a penalty?
You’re not alone: It’s the largest phone scam the IRS has ever seen, according to USA Today.
In 2014, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) received more than 50,000 complaints of IRS impostor scams. In 2013, for comparison, they only received about 2,000.
“We do know that people are being victimized,” stated Jay Mayfield of the FTC. He went on to say that the IRS scam is becoming “more prevalent around the country.”
According to the Taxpayer Administration, IRS tax scammers have pulled in nearly $14 million from over 3,000 victims.
Here’s how the scam works:
You receive a telephone call from someone who says they’re with the IRS telling you that your taxes are overdue, and if you don’t pay them immediately you will be arrested. They usually give you one of two options: Either wire the money directly or put the amount on a prepaid debit card and mail it.
Sometimes they have your Social Security Number, other times they have your driver’s license number.
Usually, your caller ID will say the call is coming from the IRS.
It’s convincing, but it’s all a fraud.
How Can You Tell?
There are two things to keep in mind when you think you might be dealing with a scammer:
First, the IRS will send a notice by mail BEFORE calling or emailing you.
Second, the IRS will not demand a specific form of payment, and they will not ask for your credit card information over the phone.
What To Do If You Are Suspicious Of A Caller
1. Do not give out any of your personal information. If at all possible, record the name and phone number of the caller who claims to be from the IRS.
2. Hang up!
3. Contact the IRS either by calling 800-829-1040 or by visiting www.irs.gov.
If you have been contacted by a fraudulent IRS scammer, please help others by reporting it to the FTC:
Let us know in the comments if you’ve received a questionable phone call from the IRS.