William A. Smith
The IRS Tax Scam that is Robbing Americans
Picture this: you’re sitting at home, minding your own business when the phone rings. The person on the other line identifies himself as an agent with the IRS, using information such as your name, home address, and other person details to gain credibility. This agent says you owe money to the IRS and that you must pay today. This so-called agent even goes as far as to say that there is a warrant out for your arrest, and that failure to pay within a two hour time frame could result in arrest for tax fraud, a suspended driver’s license or even deportation.
While this may sound like something out of a movie, this is happening to thousands of Americans every year.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) J. Russell George said this week that his office has received reports of nearly 290,000 of these targeted call scams since 2013. Around 3,000 people across the country have lost a collective $14 million during this period.
“It is critical that all taxpayers continue to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS employees. The callers are aggressive, they are relentless, and they are ruthless. They will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash,” George said in a statement.
Here is what you need to know or do to avoid this type of fraudulent activity:
- The IRS always contacts individuals by mail if they owe more on their taxes. A phone call should raise eyebrows.
- The IRS would never ask a taxpayer to use a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, nor would they ask for credit card information over the phone. This is a huge red flag.
- If you do indeed get a call of this nature, hang up and call the IRS or FTC and report the call immediately.
Unfortunately, this is only one type of scam. According to the Government Accountability Office, the IRS paid in the neighborhood of $5.2 billion in fraudulent identity theft refunds during the 2013 filing season. The best way to prevent something like this from happening to you is to file your taxes as early as possible.
If something like this has happened to you or someone you know, contact Bill Smith immediately.