IRS Scams – What You Need to Know.
Scams are pretty easy to pull off when the subject of the phone call automatically creates fear and emotion. The trick to pulling off the scam is to get the caller pre-occupied with the emotion and when they are most vulnerable, get them to give social security numbers, credit card information, and or banking account information. Discovering that you might be in trouble with the IRS can be very frightening. (As a side note, you should never be scared of the IRS. If you understand IRS rules, you would know that there are many protections and procedures that are actually consumer friendly.)
IRS Expert Dan Pilla (www.taxhelponline.com) in his latest newsletter says that the two circulating around involve a phone call where the IRA is threatening to take legal action for unpaid taxes. Then the other one is an IRS agent wanting to verify information.
The bottom line is simply this – If you are in any kind of trouble with the IRS, THEY DON’T CALL YOU. They mail you form letters or send you certified mail. So, if you get a phone call from the IRS, I would politely disconnect the call. If you want to double check, you could always call them to verify. Bear in mind, you might need 2 to 4 hours waiting on hold.
The IRS commissioner told Kiplinger Magazine the following which are things the IRS will never do.
- 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 e-mail 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 the agency says you owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or by e-mail.
- Threaten to have local police or other law-enforcement groups arrest you for not paying
Finally, remember my golden rule of scam prevention. Never give information out when you are randomly approached. This applies to email, personal visits, and phone calls.
Bob Brooks is host of The Prudent Money Radio Show, Financial Advisor, and active money manager that consults and helps people plan.