While you may have received one or more phone calls from someone claiming to be an agent of the Internal Revenue Service, the calls are not actually coming from an employee of the IRS. These calls are “an epidemic,” according to J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. IDShield’s licensed private investigators would agree because of the number of people they’ve spoken to who have received such calls.
Sometimes, even after the Investigator has explained that the call is a scam, the person who received it is so rattled they have a hard time trusting that it is a criminal’s attempt to steal their money or personal information. The reasons for this include:
- The caller has created a sense of urgency—they claim that you must do something immediately.
- The caller has masked their caller ID so that it appears they are actually calling from the IRS.
- The caller tries to legitimize their claim by sending email messages or transferring your call to another “agent.” The most popular theme for these calls has been the threat that you have unpaid taxes and you will be arrested unless you make an immediate payment. Recently, however, the IRS has issued a warning about another type of phony call: “Scam artists call saying they have your tax return, and they just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scam tries to get you to give up personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen urges taxpayers to not be fooled, “The IRS won’t be calling you out of the blue asking you to verify your personal tax information or aggressively threatening you to make an immediate payment,” he explains. The IRS will not do any of the following either:
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require use of a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Threaten to immediately bring in law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
IDShield is a product of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”). LegalShield provides access to identity theft protection and restoration services. For complete terms, coverage and conditions, please see an identity theft plan. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations.