FTC: Fake IRS Collectors are calling people demanding money

Posted on Apr 07, 2014

According to the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") there are scams where the crooks pose as IRS agents, and try to get you to pay them money. They call you on the phone.

The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) warns that crooks pretending to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents are contacting people claiming they owe taxes. The caller demands a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or a credit card number for payment. If the person doesn’t agree to pay, the fake IRS agent threatens to arrest or deport the target, or take away their driver’s license or business.

Thousands of victims have lost money to these tax scam artists. But there are ways to recognize them and keep them from defrauding you out of your money.

The IRS scammers will often:

  • call you. But when the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they send you letters, they don't call you 
  • use common names and fake IRS badge numbers
  • know the last four digits of your Social Security number
  • demand payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS doesn’t ask for either of these payment methods, nor will they ask for credit card numbers.
  • "spoof" the caller ID information to appear as if the IRS really is calling
  • send fake emails that look like legitimate IRS correspondence
  • make a second call claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, rigging the caller ID information  

To protect yourself from imposters who call, claiming to be from the IRS:

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