The Internal Revenue Service is warning preparers and taxpayers alike that scammers have renewed their assault on their personal information. This newest round of IRS impersonation attempts come in the form of “robo calls” demanding bogus tax payments on iTunes and other gift cards.
The cyber-crooks’ automated system places a call and leaves an urgent callback message, telling the taxpayer to call back immediately to settle their “tax bill,” which, usually, the taxpayer does not have. In order to scare their quarry into paying up, the calls generally claim to be the last warning before legal action is taken. If the victim calls back, the scammers may threaten to arrest or deport the taxpayer, or revoke his license if he doesn’t agree to pay.
In another quirk of the scammers’ art, this newest round of shakedown has the IRS impersonators telling their victims to put their tax payments on an iTunes card. The real IRS reminds us that any request to settle a tax bill by putting funds into any kind of gift card is a sure sign of a scam.
REMEMBER the IRS Will Never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, here’s what you should do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
- If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.