According to the IRS tax scammers now vary their cons. Crooks now pretend to be from the IRS, offer fake badge numbers, and warn that if back taxes and penalties are not paid right now you will be arrested. The caller threatens to send the local police or sheriff to arrest you. Soon after, you get a follow-up call from the crook's cohort claiming to be some kind of law enforcement officer who is on his way to arrest you.
While the crooks have you on the phone, they will obtain personal data or induce you to pay, usually by buying a specific type of prepaid payment card, then calling the crooks back and giving them the information needed to charge the card.
The crooks used to call immigrants or the elderly. Now, the IRS says they call businesses and even tax professionals.
Enhanced scams include:
- Caller ID that makes it appear that the call really is from the IRS or other federal agency; without first mailing a bill or notice;
- Giving you directions to a specific local bank or business to buy a payment card;
- Giving you an actual IRS address to make the scam seem official;
- Using personal data obtained online so it sounds as though they are reading from an IRS file;
- Using emails and letters that look like official IRS communications.
To avoid scams, watch for these red flags - actions crooks take that the IRS never does:
- Phone you about taxes or penalties owed; without first mailing a bill or notice.
- Angrily demand immediate payment on the phone.
- Threaten to engate local police or law enfocement agencies to help with taxes.
- Demand payment without giving you an opportunity to appeal.
- Require payment through a specific means, such as a prepaid payment card.
- Ask for payment card information over the phone.