The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about a new scam that uses a fictitious tax to convince victims to wire money to the scammers’ account.
The April 18 filing deadline has come and gone, but scammers who impersonate IRS personnel are hard at work trying to con taxpayers into giving them money. The callers tell the taxpayer that they owe “Federal Student Tax” on their return and have to wire the money immediately to a commercial gift card or wire transfer service. The “Federal Student Tax,” of course, is fake.
Scam artists frequently masquerade as being from the IRS, a tax company or sometimes even a state revenue department. Many scammers use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a bogus tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
Some examples of the varied tactics investigators have seen include:
- Demanding immediate payment for taxes owed applied to an iTunes gift card.
- Soliciting W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals
- “Verifying” tax return information over the phone
- Pretending to be from the tax preparation industry
If you or one of your clients get a phone call claiming to be from the IRS and demanding immediate payment when no tax is owed, here’s what to do:
First, hang up. Don’t give the scammers any information. If there were any taxes owed, the IRS would write a letter seeking resolution, not call.
Next, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) by going to their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page, or calling 800-366-4484.