Tax Time Troubles: Don’t Be Fooled By Fake IRS Calls

  
     
March 24, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2014

Contact: Tiffany Whisner
Coles Marketing Communications
317-571-0051
twhisner@colesmarketing.com

Indianapolis, Ind. – BBB® serving Central Indiana has received calls about a recent phone scam by scammers pretending to be IRS agents.

The IRS impersonators are calling up unsuspecting taxpayers and demanding they pay taxes they don’t even owe by either loading money onto a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the “IRS agents.” The threats include jail time, the “IRS” coming to your home or the suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.

In order to convince people they are real IRS agents, the scammers use several tricks, including a program to make the IRS’s toll-free number appear on the caller ID along with call center background noises and false agent badge numbers. If the target is not already convinced, several callers are able to report the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number. And this complex scam goes even further. Those who hang up on the caller may receive another call soon after from a scammer claiming to be a police officer or a DMV agent.

"The IRS will not contact you by phone and use high-pressure tactics or threats," said Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of BBB serving Central Indiana. "Simply hang up on anyone who tries to intimidate you into giving them money."

BBB offers these tips to protect yourself from this IRS scam and others like it:

  • Beware of any caller claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money. The IRS announced it would never ask for payments by wire transfer or a prepaid card, and it will typically alert taxpayers of unpaid taxes via mail, not a phone call.
  • Never give out your credit card or personal information over the phone to people you don’t know.
  • Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. This is a tactic many scammers use.
  • Be skeptical of what a caller claims he or she can do if you refuse to meet their demand. An IRS agent will not get the police involved just because you owe taxes.
  • Know the IRS won’t contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, it will contact you by mail. Also, be on the lookout for bogus IRS emails.

If you want to know more information about the taxes you owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you know you don’t owe taxes, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. Also, report the scam to the FTC Complaint Assistant at www.ftc.gov with “IRS Telephone Scam” in the comments of the complaint.

BBB encourages Indiana residents to sign up for the Do Not Call List. Once you add your telephone number and/or cell phone number to the list, you should not receive telemarketing calls, but there are some exceptions to this law. The list will be updated at the beginning of April. You can be added to the list by calling 1-888-834-9969, or fill out the form at this link: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2445.htm.

Start with someone you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/indy. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org/indianapolis/accredited-business-directory/.


About Better Business Bureau
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities. Contact BBB serving Central Indiana at 866-indybbb or visit
www.bbb.org/indy.