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IRS warns of phony payment demands
WASHINGTON (8/15/14)--Despite tax day being four months ago, taxpayers are still receiving fraudulent phone calls from individuals demanding money while claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
 
The IRS reported that, based on the 90,000 complaints that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received, about 1,100 victims have lost $5 million to scammers.
 
"There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. "Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS."
 
Potential victims may receive calls that tell them they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or that they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.
 
The IRS reminds consumers that it:
  • Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone;
     
  • Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations; and
     
  • Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
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