New IRS Telephone Fraud Scheme
By Taylor McEldowney, BC EagleTech
The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration has issued a new fraud warning yesterday. Apparently, individuals have been calling citizens all across the nation claiming to be from the IRS in an effort to gain money from them. There are over 20,000 reports from individuals in every state saying that they have received fraud calls from individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). Thousands of victims have paid over $1 million collectively as a result of this scam.
A typical call usually involves a person calling the victim, claiming to be from the IRS, who tells the victims that they owe taxes and must pay them using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer immediately. They threaten such measures as arrest, deportation, or loss of business or drivers’ licenses. They make the calls seem very legitimate as they often trick the Caller ID so that it seems the call is actually coming from the IRS. Moreover, they often will send the victims fraudulent emails that further make the call seem more legitimate. Some other common signs of these calls are that the callers will use very common names and will know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
However, in reality, the IRS usually initially contacts people via email rather than phone. In addition, they will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone. If you are suspicious, hang up the phone and do not answer any of the caller’s questions. If you know that the call is a fraud you are encouraged to report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration’s integrity hotline at 1-800-366-4484. If you are concerned that you may owe taxes but are not sure if the call is real, hang up and call the IRS at its official number, 1-800-829-1040 to find out. Finally if you would like to know the scams and alerts that are in your area check out the AARP’s fraud alert map.