Yesterday my anxiety soared through the roof as I finally answered a call that I thought was yet another sales call. Messages had been left and the calls started to occur daily. I called back to instruct them to take me off their list. They represented themselves as the U.S. Treasury Department. They had my address and name. The person on the other end gave me his full name, I.D. number, a case number and advised me we were being recorded. Somehow I was naïve enough to listen opposed to hanging up and block the call immediately. He had said the IRS tried to contact me by mail a couple times but I never responded. He threatened that my bank accounts would be frozen, there would be a lien on my house and I would be behind bars if I didn’t resolve this issue immediately. It made me extremely nervous even though I knew I had no issues and received no such letters. More threats were given and at this point I wised up as I realized that this was extreme and finally hung up. I’ve seen scams online and would never call back an unfamiliar number. A few times my internet would lock up with a screen to give a number to call when I made a typo on popular website. To resolve this issue I would always call a number I knew was safe that was listed on the Apple website. I regret that I did not do this in this case.
I called my accountant and she immediately let me know she had several clients call her this past week about the same thing. I also went directly to the Internal Revenue Service website and was able to find an area where I could report the fraud and provide as much information I could. I noted this on Facebook to alert my friends and a few others let me know they experienced the same thing. The bullying tactics that they used caused me unexpected stress. The phone ringing this morning turned my stomach into knots and since I blocked the number it went no further than that. Yet, this is how much the bullying tactics upset me. So know I’m sharing this information with you so you don’t have to feel the same thing.
On the IRS website there are articles of several ongoing scams that are occurring just this past year trying to obtain private information and money. Below are tips on how to protect yourself. (source: https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/consumer-alert-scammers-change-tactics-once-again)
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 TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
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” on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.