IRS phone scams have become incredibly common in the past decade. Scammers call taxpayers pretending to be from the IRS and demand immediate payment over the phone. Unfortunately, these scammers often sound official and use serious threats that persuade taxpayers to give them large sums of money.
Understanding IRS phone scams and the signs of a scam can help you avoid falling prey to these tactics. Read on to learn more about IRS phone scams, then contact our team at Levy & Associates for more information.
What Are IRS Phone Scams?
An IRS phone scam is a tactic in which a person calls a taxpayer pretending to be from the IRS and demands immediate payment. Often, scammers evoke fear to convince victims that they must pay large sums of money immediately to avoid harsh consequences, such as an immediate arrest or jail time.
Scammers typically request that victims pay their dues through an unauthorized payment method, such as Venmo, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card. Because the FDIC does not insure these payment methods, victims typically cannot get their money back after learning the scam’s nature. Scammers may also obtain victims’ personal or financial information to steal their identity or commit further fraud down the line.
Things to Know to Avoid IRS Phone Scams
Here are a few things to know to help you avoid IRS phone scams:
The IRS Does Not Require Specific Payment Methods
A common tactic among phone scammers is to require victims to pay their supposed debts through one specific payment method, such as a prepaid gift card. However, the IRS would never impose this specific requirement on taxpayers. You can pay tax payments to the U.S. Treasury through:
- Your bank account
- A debit card
- A credit card
- The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System
The IRS Does Not Demand Immediate Payment
The IRS would never call you and demand that you immediately pay your tax dues over the phone. Instead, you will receive several notices — typically through the mail — before you must make a payment.
The IRS also allows taxpayers to appeal or question what they owe. Additionally, if you cannot afford your tax bill upfront, you may also be able to set up a payment plan to pay your dues in smaller increments.
If a caller demands immediate payment, you can be sure they are trying to scam you.
The IRS Will Never Call to Request Payment First
The IRS typically does not call taxpayers to request payment until it has exhausted other contact methods. Usually, you would receive several letters stating your required tax payments and the method you can send them. If you receive a phone call as your first contact method, you can assume it is a scam.
The IRS Does Not Bring In Law Enforcement Agencies to Punish Taxpayers
IRS phone scammers often use scare tactics to convince victims to give them money without questioning their motives or authenticity. One scare tactic is threatening harsh consequences if victims fail to make immediate payments. These consequences may include bringing in the police, immigration officers, or other law enforcement agencies to arrest or deport the victims.
However, IRS tax administrators would never threaten to bring in these law enforcement agencies to arrest people for not paying their tax payments. Additionally, the IRS does not have the authority to revoke your immigration status.
If you receive an IRS phone scam call, you should hang up immediately and report the call using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form. Contact our Levy & Associates team today at 800-TAX-LEVY to learn more about IRS phone scams.