Although tax season may finally be over, scammers are still trying to steal your identity. The IRS is warning taxpayers about a new twist on an old phone scam. In the new scam, thieves will call in on telephone numbers that look like IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center office numbers to try and trick you into paying a fake tax bill.
The latest version of the scam has criminals calling to say they are from your local IRS TAC office and are demanding tax payments. It’s important to know your caller ID may even display a TAC number during the call since the scammers have programmed their computers to display the TAC telephone number. The scammers will even go as far as to recommend you double-check the local TAC number with the IRS.gov website. The scammers will usually then call back and demand payment. They will usually demand payment via debit card.
The calls you receive from the scammers are being spoofed, meaning they have changed the caller ID to look like they are calling from somewhere, like the TAC office, when in reality they are not. These scammers have also spoofed local police offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other federal agencies in an effort to convince taxpayers the call is legitimate. Along with calls, they can also spoof with emails by making it look like the email is from the IRS or another agency.
Despite warnings, thousands of taxpayers fall victim to these scams. The IRS says that phone scams are a major threat and they even hold a spot in the IRS’s dirty dozen list of tax scams.
It’s important to remember your first contact from the collections department at the IRS will not begin with a phone call. Almost always you will receive a letter from the IRS. TAC offices do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of outstanding tax bills. TAC will offer in-person help for taxpayers and in-person document review. You must make an appointment to receive these services. The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment over the phone. You will always receive a bill before anyone calls to get money from you. The IRS will also never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested. They will also never require you to use a specific payment method and will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.