Beware Scammers Claiming to Be the IRSSubmitted by Texas Legacy Wealth Management on April 28th, 2016
If you receive a voice or email message from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or you field a phone call from an IRS agent informing you “you owe back taxes” and “you better pay now or be arrested (or deported),” you should assume it’s an IRS Imposter Scam. That’s true even if:1
- The caller ID shows the “IRS” is calling
- The “IRS agent” offers a badge number
- The “IRS agent” knows the last four digits of your Social Security number
It’s a growing problem
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and IRS have been warning consumers about this scam for several years, but it seems to be happening more frequently. AARP Magazine reported:2
“…from 2013 to 2014, complaints about the ‘IRS Scam’ increased 20-fold, with more than 54,000 Americans being targeted in 2014. Fraudsters often target immigrants or older Americans [who are] less likely to have the knowledge or support system that would keep them from falling into the trap…after stoking the fires of fear, the bogus agent turns helpful, providing a solution that involves sending cash in a quick and untraceable way.”
Articles on the IRS and FTC websites assure Americans the real IRS will not contact taxpayers by telephone or email. If you owe taxes, the IRS will send you a letter by mail via the United States Postal Service (USPS). In addition, the IRS does not demand immediate payment. They send a bill, and they don’t specify how you should pay it.3
What should I do if I get a call?
If you receive a call, a voice mail, or an email message, the IRS offers this advice:3
• Do not give out any personal information
• Write down any details offered by the scammer such as the phone number, name, and badge number of the “agent”
• Call the IRS at (800) 829-1040 to confirm the call was a fake
• Report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (www.tigta.gov)
• Report the call to the FTC (www.ftc.gov)
No one wants to owe money to the IRS, and that is probably the reason scammers pretend to be IRS agents. It’s important to protect yourself by remaining alert and aware of common scams.
Enzo T. Pellegrino CFP®
President & Wealth Advisor
P.S. Please feel free to forward this commentary to family, friends, or colleagues. If you would like us to add them to the list, please reply to this e-mail with their e-mail address and we will ask for their permission to be added. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA / SIPC. Investment advice offered through Texas Legacy Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA / SIPC. Investment advice offered through Texas Legacy Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
This material was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. Peak Advisor Alliance is not affiliated with the named broker/dealer.