IRS Scam Report— 2017 Year End Edition

In recent months, the IRS has issued a number of alerts to make taxpayers aware of a constantly evolving array of scams designed to impersonate the IRS. Whether by email, phone or text, these scams usually have a single goal in mind: To impersonate the IRS for the purpose of stealing your information, money or both. Here’s a quick rundown of a few recent scams to be on the lookout for.

EFTPS Payment Scams

These scams generally involve either a direct phone call from the scammer or a robo-call demanding immediate callback. The scammers claim to be from the IRS and threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay your taxes. They then demand payment via a certain type of prepaid debit card that they claim is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Of course, the debit cards go directly to the scammers’ accounts.

Verifying Information Scam

Another IRS report warns of a more subtle scam threat. Instead of demanding money, the scammers pose as IRS officials asking the taxpayer to “verify” certain information related to his tax return. The questions are worded to guide the person toward giving up personal or financial information like SSN or account numbers.

Private Debt Collection Scams

The danger of this scam is that it appears convincing. In the wake of the IRS decision to hire four private collection firms to collect on some tax debts, some scammers are now calling, posing as debt collection agencies to demand tax payment. (Your key to identifying this scam: The IRS will contact you before turning your debt over to collection, and you’ll already be well aware of the debt. If a claimed tax debt is news to you—it’s a scam.)

Ransomware Scams

Phishing emails from IRS impersonators have been reported for years, but in a new twist, some scammers have been sending out official-looking emails bearing IRS and FBI emblems. The emails purported link to a “questionnaire,” but when you go to the site, it instead downloads ransomware that takes the computer hostage and threatens to erase all data unless the user sends money.

Remember, the IRS never initiates contact via email, text or phone calls to discuss personal financial information. If you’ve been victimized by scam or a scammer has attempted to reach you, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

If you legitimately owe back taxes, we can help you resolve them. Call our offices today at 720-398-6088.