Phone scammers imitating the IRS have become more scary and convincing than ever. Here’s how to figure out whether it is really the IRS on the phone or not and what to do if someone calls you claiming that they are the IRS.
IRS Phone Scams – Scammers’ Tricks of the Trade
First of all, these modern scammers know how to make their calls show up as the IRS on your caller ID. So just because your phone says that it is the IRS calling, that does not mean that it really is. They will even use video relay services to scam deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers. So know that just because they call on a VRS system does not mean the call is legitimate either.
Then they identify themselves very officially-like with a name and a badge number. They are extremely convincing. If you do not answer, they will usually leave an urgent message for you.
They will also do a bit of research on you before they call, and you might be surprised as to how much they already know about you.
Already, as you can see, with these first three items, they can be very scary and convincing. Scammers very often go after senior citizens with these convincing tactics, so tell you parents if applicable.
What IRS Scammers Say on the Phone When They Call
They will tell you that you have a debt with the IRS that needs to be settled right away to avoid arrests/jail time, freezing of accounts, lawsuits, deportation, license revocation, etc. The other plan of attack is to tell you that you have a refund coming and they need personal information to get your money to you.
Then they will ask for personal information or a means of payment. Do NOT give it to them!
How You Know It’s Not the IRS Calling
The IRS will NEVER ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone. They don’t do that. If someone is doing that, it’s a scammer.
The Internal Revenue Service will also NEVER threaten you with police action or deportation over the phone. It’s not going to happen.
They also will not simply ask for money without adjusting your account and asking you about it first. If the IRS wishes to adjust your tax return, they send a letter explaining why and to see if you agree. If you ignore these letters, they will asses the taxes and send you notices of a balance due. If you continue to ignore them they will send notices explaining their intention to lien or levy. Then, if you are still ignoring them they will (maybe) just reach into your accounts (or your house) and take your money or property. They don’t call asking for a card number, and they don’t tell you that they will come and arrest you.
What You Should do if You Think You are Being Scammed.
Now that you know the facts, if anything they are doing is something that the IRS would not do, then hang up. Never give them payment information (or other personal information) over the phone. If they call back, do not answer. Simply delete any messages they leave.
You should never confront these callers or try to call them out. If can only bring you harm and it can’t do you any good. Instead, hang up and go here for information on how to report these scams.
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