It’s frightening to owe a debt to the Internal Revenue Service, and many Texas residents may not react as they normally would when faced with a sudden call from the IRS. Since the IRS doesn’t make cold phone calls regarding tax debt or other issues, such phone calls are likely part of a scam.
The IRS published information about some of the most common tax scams in 2014, and telephone calls were among the top fraud schemes listed. According to the IRS, fraudsters call individuals and pretend to be IRS agents seeking payment for owed taxes or information about tax returns. They use the information gathered in the call to steal money from a person’s account or use their identity to get credit or benefits.
The IRS warns that scammers could sound very official when calling, using fake IRS numbers and names. The scammers could even verbalize some personal information to the individual they are calling, such as part of social security numbers or phone numbers and addresses.
Technology today lets criminals spoof telephone numbers, so someone calling from another location — or even another country — could appear to be calling from a legitimate IRS number. Some scammers also send emails that appear to be from the IRS or use the sounds of a call center to make the contact seem more official.
The IRS says that anyone receiving such calls should hang up without providing any information or payment and call the official IRS number to check on the status of an account. If you are involved in a tax debt issue with the IRS and are seeking third-party assistance with an audit or tax settlement, make sure you report any phone calls — questionable or otherwise — to your advocate.
Source: Internal Revenue Service, “IRS Releases the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014; Identity Theft, Phone Scams Lead List” Jan. 04, 2015