Volume 15, Number 49
The Wake Forest Police Department is reminding area residents not to be fooled by aggressive scammers impersonating IRS or U.S. Department of the Treasury investigators.
The Police Department routinely receives reports from residents about callers claiming to be from the IRS and/or the Department of the Treasury telling the intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a credit card, bank account draft, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers often threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license.
In the past, the IRS did not contact taxpayers by phone, but earlier this year Congress began requiring the IRS to hire private debt collectors. As a result, four legitimate debt collection companies may contact taxpayers by phone.
Here are a few tips to help you tell if the person on the phone is an IRS scammer, or someone who really is calling on behalf of the U.S. Government:
- Before your debt is turned over to a private debt collector, the IRS will send you multiple letters. Unless there is a problem with your mail delivery, you should receive them before a private debt collector calls. If you haven’t, the person on the line is probably a scammer.
- If the caller threatens you with a lawsuit, arrest, or physical harm, or demands immediate payment over the phone, it’s a scammer.
- If the initial contact with you about your alleged debt is by text, email, or social media, it’s a scammer.
- A debt collector working for the government will require your payment to be made at IRS.gov, or via a check made out to the U.S. Treasury that is mailed directly to the IRS. If they want you to pay your debt any other way, including prepaid debit, iTunes or gift cards, it’s a scammer.
- If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:
- If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
- If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
- You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.
If you believe you have been scammed by someone impersonating an IRS or Department of the Treasury official, call the Wake Forest Police Department at 919-554-6150.