If you receive a phone call from an individual identifying themselves as an “IRS Agent,” be aware that it may be a scam.
“[The] IRS will not call a taxpayer about a balance due, nor will they request immediate payment, threaten jail, or offer to have someone come to the house to pick up a payment. IRS has much information on their website about phishing and phone scams,” said St. Mary’s County AARP Tax-Aide Program District Coordinator Dana Davis in an email to the Department of Aging and Human Services.
The IRS recently released information echoing Davis, stating “the IRS will not call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.”
One recent case Davis heard of involved a senior citizen receiving such a call saying she owes back taxes and could face jail time if she didn’t pay immediately.
“This individual was really rattled by the call even to the point of when she was asked how much cash she had now – when she said she could not pay the full amount immediately – she was told by a “supervisor” that someone would come to her home tomorrow to pick up the money,” Davis said.
According to www.irs.gov, “scams cost victims over $23 million. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.”
If you get such a call, record the number and report it. Do not give out any information, hang up immediately, and contact TIGTA at 800-366-4484 or www.treasury.gov/tigta, using their Report a Scam form, or the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov using the FTC Complaint Assistant form.
If the caller says they will come to your home, Davis encourages individuals to lock all doors and windows and call 911 immediately to report any suspicious activities.
If you believe you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
To learn more, visit www.irs.gov.