Scammers now posing as IRS agents to trick victims over the phone
You probably dread a call from the IRS, but a new scam that is sweeping the nation is even more nefarious, a scam that involves a blocked number, or a number using Google Voice that indicates the call is coming from Washington DC, or another area where the IRS is located. This popular phone scam involves a person of Indian or Pakistani dialect, which may indicate that the call originated from eastern Asia. This scam has just picked up in recent weeks, with over 30 news articles daily reporting the incident. Many news outlets have stated that in some cases, the scam artists are able to recite the last four digits of your social security number.
When receiving a call from the IRS, first the caller may be asked to verify broad pieces of information, such as whether they own a business, have a job, or even as general a question such as if they owe taxes. If the victim answers any of these questions, the scam artist usually demands a ransom or urges an instant payment from the victim or face jail time or other consequences. These demands are usually backed up with information from the scammer explaining that the victim owes money in taxes or fees to the IRS. These claims are of course false.
The IRS has been notified of this scam, and while they are investigating the situation, it is very difficult to track down the scammers due to the widespread usage of burner phones, and even harder to prosecute the scammers because they mostly call from overseas using VoIP phone call methods.
If you get contacted by the IRS over the phone, keep these points in mind:
- The first thing you want to do is recall if you have ever been contacted by the IRS in print form indicating that you owe money, if not, there is a very good chance that the caller is a scammer, as the IRS usually mails paperwork two to three times before reaching out and making a phone call. In addition, the IRS never takes immediate action after a phone call on a persons property.
- The IRS never asks for payment over the phone. Instead, they direct you to go online to www.irs.gov, or another payment method through their secure platform in person.
- The IRS also never asks for information relating to your debit, credit, or bank account.
- The scammers may be able to recite the last four numbers of your social security number, but this is not an indication of being official. Many systems are able to identify the last four digits of your social security number because it is used so often. If you feel that your personal identity may be compromised, you can file a police report with the required information.
In short, never provide credit card information over the phone to any caller claiming to be associated with the IRS. If you need to contact the IRS for any reason, do so at www.irs.gov, or by calling them using one of the phone numbers at the bottom of this article.
Learn more in-depth details about this scam here: IRS Phone Scam – How to Spot and Avoid