How to avoid falling victim to IRS Phone Scams
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says they continue to receive calls from residents who have received unsolicited calls from people posing to be from with the IRS demanding money. The prosecutor's office has put together a list of things to look out for so you don't fall victim to these scams.
The IRS will send something in the mail to your home alerting you of anything they are looking for and not call your home at random, say Prosecutors officials.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and they start yelling and screaming in an angry tone demanding money, this should raise the red flag of a scam because the IRS doesn't do those things, officials add.
Here is the list from the Ocean County Prosecutors Office of things characterized in these phone scams:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
Furthermore, Prosecutor officials say if any of these things listed above are coming from the other end of your phone call this is what you need to do:
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.
- 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 TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484.
- Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the (email) message. Instead, forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly here is a list of what the IRS does NOT do:
- Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
- Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations
- Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
- Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.