IRS Phishing/Phone Scam Warning Hits Home for This Tax Accountant

Posted on Feb 15, 2016

By Jane Searing, CPA

The IRS Tax Tip 2016-19 on scam calls and emails issued on February 12, 2016, was timely and actionable – especially to me, as a mother of an adult son with autism. Individuals with intellectual disabilities are at greater risk of falling prey to these criminals.

Our son received these scam calls at our home and they were not only aggressive, they were persistent. They were willing to give me a phone number, a name, and a badge number. They did not back down when I told them I was a tax accountant and I knew they were fraudsters  ̶  they called repeatedly.

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 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 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.

One additional thing the IRS does not say but you should explicitly tell your loved one: It is not rude to hang up on these people. They are NOT the IRS…they are criminals!

© Clark Nuber PS and Developing News, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Clark Nuber PS and Developing News with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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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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