Beware the IRS Impersonators Phone Scam

Have you ever received a phone call from the IRS? There’s a big scam that has been going around with people claiming to be from the IRS and demanding immediate payment of taxes owed. Sometimes they even have the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, making them sound more official. But they aren’t. Even if you happen to owe back taxes, this isn’t how the IRS goes about collecting them.

The scammers make it all sound scary. My brother-in-law got this call some time back, and it worried him, because he hadn’t heard of the scam before. Fortunately, he didn’t fall for it, but it did make him nervous. Most people aren’t comfortable with being told that the police are on their way to your door if you don’t pay up, and that’s one of the threats these people use to make victims pay up. They may even call back to really push you.

If you get a call claiming to be from the IRS, and they’re demanding immediate payment by credit, debit or money transfer, it’s a scam. If you’re in doubt, the press release from the IRS on this issue says you can call 800-829-1040 if you think you really do owe back taxes and have a question on payments, or visit http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml if you don’t, but still want to report the scam.

As with many other scams, avoiding this one comes down to knowing who’s really contacting you. You can always visit the IRS website or contact them yourselves when you’re in doubt, just as you would contact your bank if you received an email saying there was a problem with your account, but you weren’t certain it was from them. You should always try to look things up when it’s not clear if something is legitimate. Don’t share any personal or financial information when you aren’t certain that something is legitimate.