April 15th is over! For some of our clients, that means a big sigh of relief – and for others, it means a whole new set of questions and anxieties. For the next few weeks we’re going to be running a “Slice of Life” series, where we address real-life questions clients bring us after they’ve filed their taxes (or not).
SLICE OF LIFE #1: A client calls us and says, “A person from the IRS is on the phone, and they’re threatening to arrest me!”
Has this ever happened to you?
If you’ve received a call like this, don’t panic. It’s probably a scam. Sadly, there’s a widespread ring of clever scam artists who call consumers and pretend to be the IRS in order to get your credit card information. These crooks may know a lot about you (more on that in a minute), and they use forged caller ID and fake IRS identification badge numbers. The IRS wants you to be aware of this problem, and they’ve provided a handy list of ways to spot suspicious calls.
Six Ways To Spot A Scam
- The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, or call without sending you a written notification first. If you haven’t received a bill in the mail, you should not be receiving a phone call, either.
- The IRS will never demand payment without giving you an opportunity to appeal the amount. (There’s a lot of paperwork involved with the appeals process – our tax law firm can help you with that.)
- The IRS will never tell you you are required to use a specific type of payment (prepaid credit card, etc.)
- The IRS will never threaten you with arrest or physical harm, or tell you they’re going to call the police or law enforcement if you don’t pay.
- The IRS will never contact you via unsolicited email, text, or social media about your tax problem.
- The IRS will never ask you for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone. NEVER!
What to Do About A Scam
If you’ve received a scam call, and you know you don’t owe back taxes, report the call to the IRS. You can call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484, or visit www.tigta.gov. You can also file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant.
However, if you’ve received a scam call, it’s possible that you DO owe back taxes, and that’s why you received the call. You may have had a lien filed on your property, which is where scammers sometimes get their information. (In a way, they’re a bit like sharks who start circling in the water when they sense blood.) If there’s a chance that this is the case, run, do not walk, to your nearest tax law firm! (We hope that’s us.) We can help you get a lien lifted, set up a payment plan, or get your debt moved to Currently Not Collectible status. Hopefully, that means no more calls from scammers, and a better night’s rest for you.
If you’ve received scam calls, if you have a lien on your property, or if you just have questions, give us a call at 844-841-9857, or schedule a free consultation here.