WASHINGTON (8/10/15)--The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an alert regarding new tricks by scam artists that have affected as many as 4,000 consumers reporting more than $20 million in financial losses.
The schemes, which have taken place over the phone, through the mail or via email, attempt to trick consumers into providing personal information or making a false tax payment.
According to the IRS, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received reports of nearly 600,000 contacts since October 2013. Most of these are aimed at vulnerable populations, such as older Americans, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English.
Letters and emails may arrive on authentic-looking letterhead, telephone caller IDs may make it seem like a government agency is calling, the IRS warns, and scammers may use fake names, titles and badge numbers, while using personal information gleaned online to sound official.
Scammers will angrily threaten arrest, deportation, license revocation and more, and will often provide victims with directions to the nearest financial institution where the victims can obtain means of payment such as a debit card.
The IRS urges taxpayers that the only website used by the IRS is IRS.gov, and the agency will never make angry demands, threaten to involve law enforcement, demand payment without an appeal, require a specific form of payment or ask for credit card numbers over the phone.