IRS Imposters Ramp Up Robocalls

  
     
Be Aware of the Characteristics of a Tax Scam
June 19, 2014

It’s one of the "Dirty Dozen" tax scams and it’s making its way across the Pacific Northwest again. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has received several reports of IRS impersonators.

The Internal Revenue Service issued the initial alert in February 2014, as did the Federal Trade Commission. Callers pretend to be from the IRS in hopes of stealing money or identities. Here are some examples of how the scammers attempt to swindle taxpayers.

  • Victims are told they owe money to the IRS or are entitled to a huge refund.
  • Victims are threatened with arrest or license revocation if they don’t pay.
  • The imposters may call back saying they’re from the local police department or motor vehicle division to give validity to the scam.

BBB wants consumers to be aware of the characteristics of a tax scam.

  • IRS imposters use fake names and badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear the IRS is calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their calls.
  • Victims may hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

The IRS will not initiate contact about a tax return processing problem over the phone or by email. The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any taxes due via U.S. mail.

Consumers who receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS should hang up and call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. An official representative will address any concerns.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, founded in 1918 and serving more than 9 million consumers, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2014, people turned to BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington more than 5 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 264,000 local businesses and for Charity Reports on more than 1,200 local charities, all available for free at akorww.bbb.org.