Thieves use any tools at their disposal to try to scam money out of you. With the increased usage of doorbell cams, we see them in action as they nab packages right from our doorstep. Identity thieves target online shoppers during Christmastime as well. In February 2018, we told you about a wire fraud scam going around Basking Ridge effecting some real estate transactions. Phone scams ramp up around the holidays and tax season. Basking Ridge officials and the IRS want to make its citizens aware of an IRS phone scam that makes the round often at this time of year.
Watch Out for IRS Phone Scam
How It Works
You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS employee. They tell you that you owe money for unpaid taxes. Then, they insist you pay cash via a wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Sometimes, they “offer” to let you pay via a gift card. If you don’t pay, they continue to harass you with excessive callbacks, threatening jail time and/or revocation of your license. For some, the risk of deportation might come up. Before you give out any personal information or send cash to someone you don’t know personally, STOP!
How to Identify an IRS Scammer
First of all, if they called you on the phone, it’s a scam. The IRS never calls people about an unpaid tax bill out of the blue. A legitimate claim from the IRS starts with an actual letter. In that letter, they let you know what proper channels to go through to resolve an issue. An IRS agent will NEVER require you to pay cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card (like a Google Play card). They don’t threaten to send the police to your door or demand payment immediately without allowing you to inquire for more information or ask for an appeal. And, if someone calls to tell you about a refund you didn’t know about, beware. It’s probably a scam, too.
Never, ever give out personal information over the phone, especially to someone you don’t know. That includes your debit, credit card or bank account number. A legitimate IRS agent never requests this information over the phone.
What to Do If You Think You Received a Call From a Scammer
First, end the phone call right away. Then, contact the IRS Hotline at (800) 829-1040. After that, make sure you let the US Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration’s office know about the scammer. Either call them at (800) 366-4484 or visit their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Finally, make sure you report it to the Federal Trade Commission via their FTC Complaint Assistant portal here. Include the phrase “IRS Telephone Scam” when telling them about it in order to get it to the right department as soon as possible.
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