In an article written by UHY LLP, a Michigan practice, the rise of unsolicited calls from the IRS can mean scams.
Even in the age of email/text message and ransomware scams, phone calls continue to be one of the most common tactics used by thieves to obtain personal information from taxpayers. Scammers take the information and use it to gain access to the victim’s bank or other accounts.
Upon answering the phone, taxpayers may hear a recording or an actual person claiming to be from the IRS. At times they will tell the taxpayer they owe money and must pay right away, or say there is a refund waiting and request bank account information over the phone.
Things to keep in mind to avoid falling victim. The IRS will not:
- Demand immediate payment
- Call someone about taxes owed, without notifying them by mail first
- Demand payment without allowing the taxpayer to appeal or question the amount owed
- Require a specific payment method
- Ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone
- Threaten the taxpayer with police intervention
- Threaten a lawsuit
Use these steps if you do not owe taxes or have no reason to think you do:
- Report the incident to the IRS or notify your tax preparation professionals
- If you think you do owe taxes, you should ask for a callback number and employee badge number or call the IRS at 1 800 829 1040
All taxpayers have fundamental rights they need to be aware of when dealing with the IRS known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Visit IRS.gov to explore these rights and the agency’s obligation to protect them