REMEMBER, the IRS always initiates contact via U.S. mail. Therefore, if you receive an unexpected phone call or email and have not had any prior contact with the IRS, immediately HANG UP the phone and DO NOT RESPOND or click on any links included in an email. If it is a phone call, do not engage the caller even if you know it is a scam, and here’s why…

Thieves and their scamming techniques are very clever. They take advantage of a taxpayer’s fear of the IRS to persuade their potential victim that a significant problem truly exists. Oftentimes, they will have your personal information in advance of calling or emailing such as the last four digits of your Social Security number, current or past addresses, name of your spouse and name(s) of your current employer(s) in an effort to convince you that their phone call or email is legitimate. Oftentimes, thieves manipulate caller ID to show a call from the “IRS” with a toll-free number and the caller will give you a bogus name and IRS badge number. Do not correct any erroneous personal information that the caller recites and do not give them your date of birth. Be smart by NOT “playing along” with their scheme. You may find yourself doubting the situation and divulging information that the thief will further use to influence the conversation and wreak havoc on your finances and credit.

Keep in mind the following about the IRS:
• The IRS will never ask for payment information over the phone. EVER. This includes credit card, debit card, prepaid card or banking account information.
• The IRS will not ever demand or insist upon a certain payment method to satisfy any tax payments due.
• The IRS never requests payment over the phone.
• The IRS does not pursue payment action immediately after a phone conversation. Any action to be taken by the IRS will be sent via written notification via U.S. mail prior to the enforcement, such as liens or levies.

Commons tricks of the scammers:
• Scammers may sometimes send an email following a phone call in an attempt to substantiate the validity of their phone call with the victim.
• Scammers will make it appear they are calling from the IRS by initiating background noises to make it appear they are operating from a bona fide call center.
• Scammers will make threats about potential jail time or revocation of a driver’s license. Their threats will intensify with callbacks posing as local law enforcement or the DMV, and their manipulation of caller ID will make it appear as such.

BEST PRACTICE…If you receive a phone call or email from a person claiming to be an agent or representative of the IRS, under NO circumstances should you release any personal information or give money. HANG UP and DO NOT RESPOND!