I often receive panicked phone calls and emails from clients stating they received a call from the IRS threatening to arrest them for failure to pay taxes. After looking into each client’s case, more often than not I find that the call or email was a scam. When you are faced with overwhelming debt, it can be difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. You may be receiving a mix of calls from real debt collectors and fake debt collectors. The fake collectors take advantage of people that have other, real types of debt in the hopes that they will accidentally get paid. Here are some signs and tips to avoid IRS scams:
1. Phone Calls and Emails:
If you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be with the IRS, 99% of the time it is a scam. The IRS doesn’t cold call or email tax payers – especially not to demand payment. Instead, they send tax bills through US Mail. They will only call if you have already received a tax bill in the mail and reached out to them in response.
The IRS will not threaten you. They will not claim to have a warrant out for your arrest. They will not accuse you of tax fraud. They will not be rude to you. They have a high standard of respect they must uphold. If the actual IRS calls you, I promise it will be professional.
3. Requests for Personal Information:
Do not give personal information over the phone or through email. Answer this question: doesn’t the IRS already know your address, social security number, birthdate, full name? They don’t need to call and ask you these things. They can simply
4. Requests for Payment:
The IRS will never call you to demand a payment. You can call them to make a payment, but they will never call you to demand one. They especially won’t control your method of payment, either. The IRS won’t force you to pay taxes with a prepaid card, credit card, wire transfer, etc.
5. No Right to Appeal:
You have the right to question the amount you owe in taxes. You also have the right to appeal the amount requested. If you are speaking with the IRS, they will make it clear what your rights are. If you feel that you don’t owe taxes, you are probably right! It is probably a scam trying to scare you. Go with your gut!
Before handing over any money or personal information to an IRS scammer. Hang up with them and go to IRS.gov. Find a phone number at that website and call it. If it is a real debt, the actual IRS will have