If the "IRS" calls you on the phone? Don't fall for it.
So many IRS-scam stories seem to begin with: “The IRS called and told me …” or “I didn’t recognize the Caller ID, but picked it up anyway, and it was the IRS.” Or this one, “They told me to call back and said that it was urgent.”
We are going to stop you right there.
One of the first problems many scam victims have is that they don’t recognize the fact that the IRS doesn’t call people. Once that fact is established, it can go a long way in keeping your personal information and finances safe.
Scammers who pretend to be with the IRS — unlike the real IRS — do call people. And in addition to threatening you with jail time, here are some things they will try to get you to part with your money:
Use Caller-ID spoofing. Caller ID information can be altered so it looks as if the IRS is actually calling. Scammers may give you an IRS badge number or title, and even know your name, address and other information about you, just as the IRS likely would. Don’t fall for it.
Get you to pay a certain way. Scammers often pretend to be with the IRS, demanding the victim pay a phony tax bill via pre-paid debit card or a wire transfer, for example. And it isn’t always over the phone; they can also reach out via email requesting payment in a certain form for the fake tax bill.
Do a really, really good job of looking official. Schemes have been reported, for example, where scammers provide an IRS address for mailing payment. They email phony IRS documents; or use IRS letterhead, all in an effort to look legitimate when demanding money.
What should you do if you get one of these calls?
· Don’t give any information
· Hang up
· If there is any question if you owe money, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
· Go on the TIGTA or FTC websites and report the call.