Just because it’s not tax season, doesn’t mean you’re safe from IRS scammers…
UPDATE 9/6/2016: The IRS has issued a warning to tax professionals regarding the latest wave of IRS scams. The latest scam will allow for the hacker to gain remote access to the tax professional’s computer and file a fraudulent return. As of late, it there have been approximately 24 tax professionals who have fallen victim to the scammers. You can read the full story from the IRS here.
I was woken up this morning by a phone call from “270-805-1208”, a number located in Kentucky. Not recognizing the number, I let it go to voicemail. The voicemail, in broken English, stated that it was the final notice from the IRS, and that I needed to call them back. You can listen to the actual voicemail here:
Whenever you get a call from an unknown number, the first thing you should do is determine who is the carrier for the number, by searching for it online. In this case, the number is owned by Sprint, a US based cellular company. Of course, the IRS wouldn’t use a cellular number; they would use a landline to make the call. The scammers purchase cellular numbers in bulk, then having them forward to their call center, where they wait patiently for you to give them money.
A search on the Internet shows who the Service provider is
After finding out that the number was a Sprint number, the next thing I did was look for comments about the phone number from a couple of phone scam tracking websites. These websites allow people to leave comments about the phone call they have received.
Online comments posted about the IRS scam calls
Being the security minded person that I am, I decided to call them back. Unfortunately, it just rang and no one answered. Maybe they’re on a lunch break and couldn’t pick up the phone. I’ll keep trying to see if they eventually answer the phone, and will update the blog accordingly.
If you get a call from the “IRS”, claiming you owe them money for a bogus tax bill, do not give them any information or money. Instead, report the number to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), by calling them at 800-366-4484.
Remember that the IRS will never:
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- 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.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you’d like more information about the latest IRS scams, you can visit the IRS website here.