New phone scam from IRS employee impersonators
A new scam has been making the rounds recently. Hackers posing as IRS employees are trying to steal your private information. Be on the look-out to avoid getting conned.
The scam is carried out like this: a person calls pretending to be an IRS employee. They will typically provide a fake name and a phony IRS badge number. They will also hack your caller ID to make it appear as though their call is coming from the IRS. If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave a voicemail with an urgent request for you to call them back.
The scammer will then make a claim regarding your taxes. They may accuse you of owing taxes and require you to pay via a specific means, such as a wire transfer or a gift card. They may become malicious or condescending. They may even threaten you with arrest. The intent is to scare their victims into releasing private information.
A scammer may also claim that you are due to receive a tax refund. They may request your bank account information in order to transfer payment to you.
These recent attacks have targeted the general population as well as vulnerable populations—including immigrants and deaf people. Scammers do their homework on their victim and use threats that are especially frightening for the individual. For immigrants, for example, they may threaten deportation. Hackers will also call deaf people using video relay services (VMS). Victims may be more inclined to trust calls made through VMS, although in reality these calls are just as subject to fraud as any other calls, because interpreters don’t verify their authenticity.
To the unassuming recipient, such a call may seem legitimate. To avoid being tricked, here are some things to keep in mind about how the IRS works. The IRS will never:
- Call you as its first line of communication. They will usually first initiate contact with a letter. If you’re surprised to receive a call from the IRS, treat the call suspiciously.
- Demand payment immediately or require that payment be made using a specific method.
- Demand payment without first giving you the chance to appeal or question the amount they claim you owe.
- Threaten immediate arrest if you don’t pay.
- Ask for your credit card or bank account number.
Remember these guidelines to help keep your information safe. Never give your personal information to anyone you don’t know. Share these tips with your family and friends.