Don’t Fall for the IRS Collection Scam
The Boardman Police Department has received several complaint calls about an “IRS collection scam” that seems to be targeting our specific area.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest or suspension of a business or driver’s license. The callers often claim that local police will be at their door within the next day if they do not comply.
In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may also be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request. The calls seem to come from numbers within the US, but usually originate from fraudulent call centers from outside the country.
In addition to taking the steps below, check on any elderly or at risk relatives and friends that may be susceptible to a scam like this. Usually, hanging up on the caller will prompt them to move on to the next number. Any interaction with them usually brings additional calls and continued solicitations.
Awareness and prevention are the keys to protecting yourself. Because of the overseas locations of these groups, it is very difficult for law enforcement to recover any funds once they are sent.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
- Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or e-mail.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money or to verify your identity, here’s what you should do…
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact the IRS Fraud Center to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page at https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml. You can also call 800-366-4484.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scamsconsumer-alerts on IRS.gov.