The Internal Revenue Service is warning individuals to be aware of a phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants,that is taking place throughout the country.

Those receiving calls are told that they owe money to the IRS and must pay immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to pay, they are told they may be arrested, deported or have their driver’s license suspended.

According to the Acting IRS Commissioner “This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer”. If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” The Commissioner indicated that the first IRS contact with taxpayers regarding a tax issue is likely to occur by mail.

The scammers use made-up common first and last names to identify themselves and fake IRS badge numbers. Sometimes they are able to recite the victim’s last four digits of their social security number. They try to mimic the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it seem the IRS is calling. After threatening victims with jail or loss of a driver’s license, scammers will hang up and others quickly call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, and are comfortable contacting the IRS on your own, you should contact the IRS at 800-829-1040.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

If you need professional tax help to resolve a back tax issue, prepare unfiled tax returns or IRS audit representation, call East Coast Tax Consulting Group at 866-550-7655 for a free consultation. Our tax consultants will find a solution to your tax problems.