IRS Phone Scam Warning

by Carol Lim

Getting calls from “202-470-3367” 3-4 times a day or from “Private Caller,” even on a federal holiday, July 4th? Both phone ID’s are IRS Tax Scammers. The 202 phone number has an automated message in perfect English, saying “I’m IRS investigator (Man’s Name, in our case when we picked up the phone) and there are serious criminal charges filed against you from criminal investigators. Call this number immediately.”

Don’t fall for it.

In the case of answering the “Private Caller” phone call at 9 a.m. EST in the first week of June, a woman with a foreign accent said she was calling from the IRS. “Who are you looking for at this phone number? What’s the name of the person you’re looking for?” I asked the “Private Caller.”

A 5 second pause, background noise, a click and the phone call ended.

The Internal Revenue Service has a strong warning for consumers to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams aimed at taxpayers, including recent immigrants. Reports of this kind of crime continue to rise, before and even after the tax filing season. Immigrants are frequently targeted.

The IRS says it always notifies taxpayers in writing of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit ccard, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
The IRS does not call you.

The IRS says the phone scam include the following:
1. Fake names and IRS badge numbers, usually common names and surnames to identify themselves
2. May be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number
3. Spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling
4. Send bogus IRS emails to victims to support the scam phone calls
5. In some cases, the victims may be threatened with jail time or revoking their driver’s license. The scammers hang up and others call back soon pretending to be from the local police or DMV and the “caller ID” supports the claim.

If you received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, IRS advises reporting it to them.
1. If you think you owe taxes to IRS, call IRS at 1-800-829-1040
2. If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think you owe any taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484
3. Report the incident to http://www.tigta.gov or the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to your comments of your complaint.

IRS also warns against “phishing” for information. Don’t open nor click on any links in these “phishing” emails. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.

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