Please review this important information from Special Agent Chris Fontaine from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Grand Rapids Field Office
If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS, or in a new twist, the Treasury Department, and uses the threat of legal action if you do not pay immediately, that is a sign it is not the IRS calling, and your cue to hang up. DO NOT engage with these callers. If they call you, JUST HANG UP THE TELEPHONE.
This impersonation scam has hit taxpayers in EVERY State in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS or other government agencies tell intended victims they owe taxes or fines and must pay using a pre-paid debit card, money order, wire transfer or most recently, iTunes gift cards. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with being charged with a criminal violation, a grand jury indictment, immediate arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license.
Here is what you need to know. The IRS generally first contacts people BY MAIL – NOT BY PHONE- about unpaid taxes. Additionally, the IRS WILL NOT ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order, wire transfer or gift card. The IRS also WILL NOT ask for a credit card number or your bank information over the phone.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, or your credit card or bank account information, here’s what to do:
• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.• If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on TIGTA’s website,www.tigta.gov or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) encourages taxpayers to be alert to phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS WILL NEVER request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org. DO NOT open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.
YouTube video explaining the IRS impersonation scam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_ewrxB4J54