by Beth Donalds: The Business Doctor
Despite repeated warnings from the IRS, taxpayers continue to fall victim to this scam: Criminals claiming to be IRS officials call and demand payment of a bogus tax bill, conning victims into providing personal information and sending cash.
To date, taxpayers have collectively paid over $23 million to scammers. With tax season in full swing, here is what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim:
Callers use scare tactics to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim.
Scammers alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling.
Cons make it look official, often providing an actual IRS address where the victim is instructed to mail a payment receipt. Others use fake IRS documents or official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail.
The IRS will not call you to demand immediate payment. If you owe taxes, the IRS will first send you a bill in the mail. They will never demand that you pay your taxes a certain way or ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Don’t be fooled! To report a scam call, contact the U.S.Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) using the IRSImpersonation Scam Reporting webpage or call 800-366-4484.