In February 2018, the IRS released a news item titled “Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency.” The story warns of “a new twist on an old scam.”
In March 2019, a similar IRS press release offered the headline “IRS warns of new phone scam using Taxpayer Advocate Service numbers.” Once more, we learn of “a new twist on the IRS impersonation phone scam whereby criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS), an independent organization within the IRS.”
According to data from Transaction Network Services (TNS), almost 143 million “nuisance and high-risk calls” were made on April 17, the tax-filing deadline in 2018. That was the highest number of robo-calls of any day that year. If you’ve received a suspicious phone call or email from someone claiming to be the IRS, here’s what you need to know.
“The IRS does not send unsolicited email, text messages or use social media to discuss your personal tax issues.”
Let’s start here. According to the United States Department of Justice, “The IRS does not send unsolicited email, text messages or use social media to discuss your personal tax issues. If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be an IRS employee and demanding money, you should consult the IRS Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts webpage…”
If the IRS wants to contact you, they’ll do it the old fashioned way: via snail mail. According to the IRS, most contacts are made through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. Under some special circumstances, the IRS may call or come to your home or business, but “even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.”
Never return a phone call, email, or text from someone claiming to be with the IRS.
If you receive a message from someone claiming to be with the IRS, call the IRS directly. The phone number for individuals to call is 800-829-1040. Business calls should be made to 800-829-4933. If you receive an unexpected or suspicious email from someone claiming to be with the IRS, you should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re concerned you may be the victim of identity theft or tax fraud, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman. Our attorneys are capable of providing knowledgeable counsel on matters related to consumer protection.