Scam: Callers pretend to be IRS fraud division employees and tell victims they owe tax monies that must be paid immediately to avoid criminal penalties.
Example: [Collected on Facebook, May 2015]
I just received a threatening phone call that I owe money and it was important to return their call or else they would press charges against me. The number on caller ID was 301-880-1211.
Origins: Late April 2015 saw the recurrence of a form of telephone scam in which callers impersonate members of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) fraud division, telling their targets that they owe money to the IRS that must be paid immediately (typically via wire transfer or debit card) in order to avoid criminal charges or jail time.
The IRS is aware of this scam and has issued an alert about it:
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an "urgent" callback request.
Not only do such calls not originate with the IRS, but they do not represent how the IRS actually deals with such issues. That agency does not call taxpayers to demand immediate payment of past due taxes, nor will they make a call about owed monies without having first mailed the taxpayer a bill:
These collection attempts by scammers and other fraudulent IRS-related activities should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
Last updated: 7 May 2015