IRS Phishing Scam Warning Hits Home for This Tax Accountant

Posted on Mar 1, 2016 in Fraud

As organizations serving people who are elderly, disabled or vulnerable in other ways, teaching them to protect themselves from fraud is an important part of the mission. These Individuals are at greater risk of falling prey to criminals attempting to defraud them by posing as the IRS. Even persons working hard to get their lives back after suffering a loss of employment, homelessness, or recovery from addiction, could have serious setbacks if they fall victim to one of these scams.

As a mother of an adult son with Autism, I found the IRS Tax Tip 2016-19 issued on February 12, 2016 timely and actionable. Our son received one of these phishing scam calls at our home and the callers were not only aggressive, they were persistent. They were willing to give me a phone number, a name, and a badge number. They called repeatedly and did not back down when I told them I was a tax accountant and I knew they were fraudsters.

Our son no longer lives at home with us so I used this list as a great reminder for him of what the IRS will NEVER ask for and what to do if he receives an email or a phone call. I printed the list out and posted it by his computer as a reminder. I share a reformatted list here for your reference. Please share it with anyone you think would benefit from the information. Having clear guidance can be a great comfort when confronted with very aggressive and convincing bad actors.

The real IRS will NOT:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment of taxes.
  • Call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
  • Threaten you with a lawsuit.

If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
  • You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.
  • If you cannot report this yourself, ask someone responsible to do it for you.

If you think you may owe taxes:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.
  • If you cannot do this yourself, ask someone responsible to do it for you.

If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov. Please share this with your clients or anyone you think would benefit from the information. One additional thing the IRS does not say but you should explicitly tell the client or caregiver: It is not rude to hang up on these people. They are NOT the IRS…they are criminals!

© Clark Nuber PS, 2016. All Rights Reserved

 

This article or blog contains general information only and should not be construed as accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should engage a qualified professional advisor.

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