The Internal Revenue Service recently issued warnings regarding a new variation on an old phone scam: Criminals can spoof telephone numbers belonging to IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) to dupe taxpayers into paying fake tax bills.
In this version of the phone scam, criminals program computers to display TAC telephone numbers, which then appear on consumers' caller IDs when the criminals call. When consumers question the illegitimate demand, they are directed to IRS.gov to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify it. Scammers hang up, call back a short time later and demand immediate payment.
According to the IRS, tax scams are common all year long so it's crucial to be aware of the following:
The IRS will mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by telephone to notify them of overdue taxes.
The IRS will not ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone or demand specific payment methods to pay taxes that are owed (e.g. prepaid debit cards, gift cards or wire transfers).
The IRS will never threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement nor can the agency revoke anyone's driver's license, business license or immigration status.
If you receive a scam phone call, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "IRS Phone Scam."