Our office received a call last week from a highly agitated client who was concerned about a voice mail left by someone allegedly from the IRS demanding that the client return the call as soon as possible. The client asked whether or not they should return the call. This client was not under audit, nor was there any pending IRS action concerning them, that our office was aware of. Further, it seemed strange that someone from the IRS would call and even stranger leave a voice mail. So I returned the phone call on behalf of the client. The phone number given to me by the client as the return IRS phone number rang into what can only be described as a call center. There were a great many conversations that could be heard in the background. I let the individual at the other end of the phone know that my client had received a call from the IRS asking them to return the call at this number. The man who answered the phone wanted to know what telephone number had been called to which my reply was that it shouldn’t make any difference what telephone number had been called. If the IRS was requesting information from a taxpayer, they would request the social security number, not the taxpayer’s telephone number. After a few seconds of confusion, the gentlemen advised that no one had called my client from the IRS. On that point, we agreed.
Taxpayers need to be aware that they may receive calls allegedly from IRS personnel using fake names and IRS badge numbers demanding payments to the IRS. The callers may ask for credit card or debit card or prepaid card information over the phone. THIS IS A SCAM. Do not, repeat do not give any financial information to the caller over the phone. The IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) have received over 90,000 complaints from taxpayers who have received such calls. To date, there are approximately 1,100 victims who have lost over $5 million from these scams. So if you receive a call from someone alleging to be from the IRS and urging immediate payment, then hang up and contact the TIGTA, the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission at their FTC Complaint assistant at FTC.gov.