Like many Americans, my personal information — including bank accounts, social security number and address — may have been stolen. In my case, hackers attacked the payroll company a former employer used, and I was told to notify the Internal Revenue Service to watch for potential fraud.
So when I received a voice mail from a woman claiming to be with the IRS, I immediately took notice, feeling a nauseating fear suddenly grip my chest.
Then I listened to her words. Here they are, transcribed from my phone, as best I could understand them:
Hi, I’m calling you from the tax crime investigation in the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Treasury. The very second you receive this message, we need you to return us this call, as we are trying to reach you in regard to an important issue. We have received a copy of an affidavit concerning a tax evasion on your name, and your address is on the summons. So before the things go worst against you, kindly call us back on our hotline division, which is 703-879-7147; I repeat, it’s 703-879-7147.
This is where she got very serious, deepening her voice so I understood the severity of her words.
Don’t disregard this message and do return the call, as delay in calling us back might eventually lead to [unintelligible] for you, so that we will need to contact the sheriff’s department to detain you for investigation. So I hope that you testify in this matter as soon as possible.
This is a total scam. The caller in these types of schemes usually demands that a specific amount of money be deposited into an IRS bank account to avoid penalties. And while you probably knew this was an IRS phone scam, you probably know a relative or friend who would believe the caller. If that’s the case, then please share this information with them.
The IRS has issued a warning about this, but here are the basics you need to know. The IRS will NEVER:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will they 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.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
The phone numbers may change, but the fraud remains the same. You can good the number with the words “IRS scam” and see if others have reported this problem. Here are some good general guidelines if you’re in doubt:
To learn about this and other IRS scams, go here:
Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484, or by visiting the link below:
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.