Opening the mailbox and seeing a letter with the IRS logo on it usually results in panic even if the notice is purely information. What if instead of a letter you were to receive a phone call from the IRS threatening to put you in jail or revoke your driver’s license? This has happened to an increasing number of our clients over the past several months. The IRS telephone scam is becoming so prevalent that the IRS issued a notice warning taxpayers of the phone calls.

Here are items to remember:

·         The IRS will always send any notification of tax due via the United States mail in written letter form. So if the telephone call is the first you are hearing from them, it is almost certainly a scam.

·         The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card, or other payment information over the phone.

·         Just because the caller knows the last 4 digits of your social security number does not mean they are with the IRS as this is surprisingly easy information to obtain.

·         Caller ID may not help you detect scammers as they can replicate the IRS phone number to display.

·         The callers may mimic background noises to make them appear like they are in an IRS call center.

In a few rare cases after the IRS scammers call, another phone call comes in pretending to be the police or DMV to help support their claims that they could take you to jail or revoke your driver’s license. Fear clearly is what they are using to victimize taxpayers and steal account information. Although the telephone scam is the one we have heard the most about from clients remember that the IRS also does not email, send text messages, or contact through social media outlets.

If you receive a phone call and want to confirm the request is legitimate hang up with the current caller and call 1-800-829-1040. A representative can pull up your account and let you know for certain if any taxes are owed. If no taxes are owed, you can report the incident at 1-800-366-4484 to help others from becoming victims of this scam.