November 10, 2014

In recent months, taxpayers have been receiving unsolicited phone calls by individuals fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials. In the instances in which clients have contacted us, the taxpayers have been threatened with criminal prosecution, wage garnishment and levied bank accounts. These solicitations are made to all sorts of taxpayers including those who have never had any direct dealings with the IRS other than timely filing their tax returns.

The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) is aware of these efforts to defraud taxpayers and has issued a warning, alerting taxpayers to calls made by individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. The phone scam is sophisticated in its implementation and has hit taxpayers in nearly every state of the country. The truth is that the IRS usually contacts people by mail not by phone about unpaid taxes. And the IRS will not ask for payments using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

The callers who commit this fraud use the following techniques among others:

  1. They use common names for agents and fake IRS badge numbers.
  2. They know the last four digits of the victim Social Security number.
  3. They threaten criminal prosecution through the Criminal Investigative Department of the IRS.
  4. They are aggressive and intimidating in their nature.

If you have been contacted in such a manner, you should report it to TIGTA under http://www.treasury.gov/tigta.  Additionally, you can find out about more tax scams being perpetrated at http://www.irs.gov.