Fred and Diane Stevens were getting used to the idea of being trucks drivers, together, husband and wife, on the open road. This job allowed them the opportunity to see the country and make memories along the way. Although they were new to the truck driving industry, they knew this was one of their better decisions. But they didn’t know what an IRS phone call scam was…
One early afternoon Diane receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. Part of the conversation went as follows:
“IRS”: Mrs. Stevens, your payment for Federal Tax Transaction ID 152425658515226 failed to come through. You need to pay your 2290 Heavy Highway Usage Tax and we need your payment immediately.
Mrs. Stevens: We did pay our taxes by mailing in a check to the IRS. You must be mistaken.
“IRS”: We have received no such payment and require the payment in full, plus penalties for not paying on time. You need to make your payment over the phone today, by debit or credit, or we will be calling the authorities and will have you arrested for failure to pay!
But what could Diane do in this situation? She was pretty sure she already paid her HVU tax but didn’t want to be arrested. Should she pay them? She was scared and wasn’t sure what to do. Unfortunately, she fell victim to this scam and ended up paying them thousands of dollars. This could end up being a scary and stressful conversation you will face.
IRS PHONE CALL SCAM MORE POPULAR AND MORE COSTLY
The IRS phone scam has unfortunately cost Americans millions of dollars. Reports of this scam began in 2013 of this scam. It has grown into the largest and most pervasive impersonation scam for the Treasury Inspector General’s office. In California alone victims reported losing $3.84 million.
What can you do to ensure you don’t end up giving your hard earned cash to scammers?
- Learn how the IRS operates when it comes to taxes and penalties owed.
- Learn how the scammers operate, too.
Difference between Real IRS & Scammers
Will the IRS call me if I owe taxes?
- The IRS will never contact you by phone about any taxes or penalties you owe.
- They do not use force, threats, or demand a payment.
- They will never require that you make a payment a certain way.
- The IRS does not ask for a debit or credit card payment over the phone.
How will the IRS contact me if I owe taxes?
The IRS will mail you a letter informing you of any taxes or penalties you owe. There will also be a number listed on the letter so that you can call the IRS and confirm.
If you get a phone call by someone claiming to be from the IRS
- Don’t talk to the caller or give out any information.
- Hang up immediately.
- Report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, either online at IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting or by phone at 800-366-4484.
- Record the employees name, badge number, and call back number.
- Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you.
- If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back.
Characteristics of an IRS phone scam
- Scammers will use fake names and IRS badge numbers.
- They will use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Some scammers will be able to recite the last 4 digits of your SSN.
- They spoof the IRS toll-free number on a caller ID to make it look like it is actually the IRS that is calling.
- You may hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call center.
- They will threaten you with jail time or driver’s license revocation
- After the scammer threatens you, they will hang up and another scammer will call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV. Unfortunately, the caller ID will support their claim.
5 Signs that an IRS caller is a crook
A big red flag is that a scammer is very aggressive about trying to obtain your money.
To learn about the 5 signs click the following link:
Unfortunately, we face multiple different forms of IRS scams, not just through our phones.
Other forms of IRS Scams
These are all ways that scammers use to try access your money. They prey on your fear of jail and fear of paying more in penalties. You can keep from falling victim to these tactics by educating yourself. Below are a couple of links you can click on to learn more information about how scammers use these different forms of communication to try to scam the American population.
Read more about Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts directly from the IRS. Click the e-File Now button below to get started. We are an IRS approved e-File provider.