“The IRS is serving me papers today” stated Theresa*, one of our employees here at Loiselle Insurance. She was laughing but actually quite nervous. She had been the victim of one of the largest and fastest growing scams targeting thousands of Americans every day. The scams involve threatening phone calls from people pretending to be IRS agents, demanding tax payers make payments over the phone or else face enormous consequences. The scam artists can be very convincing using common names and even presenting fake IRS agent badge numbers.
These criminals are not discriminating. The phone calls are going to people of all ages, income levels and backgrounds. More than 366,000 people have been targeted in this scam. Sadly, over 3,000 people have fallen victim to the scam with a total loss of over $15.5 million dollars. Some of the callers are pushing the taxpayer to make payments over the phone, while other scam artists are just looking for private information, such as social security numbers.
“It was really scary, they knew a lot about me”, said Theresa. These con-artists do their research, so they may know a lot of basic information about you. However, try to remember that a lot of your information is on the web. A simple google search can bring up your home address, phone number and age. It can also bring up your place of work and even your cell phone number. The scam artists are very smart and can use very intimidating techniques such as yelling and threatening arrests.
If you receive a phone call like this please remember that the IRS would:
- Never contact you by phone unless they had already previously mailed you a bill.
- Never demand immediate payment, especially a debit or credit card over the phone.
- Never contact you through email, social media or text messages.
- Never yell or become aggressive.
- Always give you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
If you do receive a phone call or voicemail similar to this:
1) Do not give them any information. Do not engage these criminals. Hang up and contact the IRS directly by calling 1.800.829.1040. If you did actually owe tax money, payment plans can be set-up.
2) Please report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484, or file a report online.
*Names changed to protect the innocent.
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