Telephone scammers have gotten pretty sophisticated. Tim and I got a phone message the other day from an individual who claimed to be from the IRS. He sounded professional and left his title and surname, IRS badge number and a message laced with just enough IRS jargon and procedural knowledge to give him an air of legitimacy.
We knew enough to realize that the call was bogus, but still were curious enough to check out the caller’s phone number. When we looked online, we discovered a flood of posts from individuals who had been taken in by scammers operating out of that phone number.
Please know that the IRS never calls without first sending a notice. Neither do they ask for credit or debit account numbers or threaten consequences like jail time and driver’s license revocation. If you receive a call from someone who demands immediate payment of taxes, even if your caller ID says they’re from the IRS or the caller can recite your personal information, rest assured that the call is a shake-down.
On a related note, the IRS also does not make initial contact by email or use text messages or social media to discuss tax issues. You can report these and other tax scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.