While we are all enjoying our summer vacations, it appears that scammers never rest. The IRS has announced that even though tax filing season is over for most, taxpayers should be on the lookout for “summertime scams”. Some of these are variations of prior scams, but it never hurts to be reminded and warned.
The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS)
This is a new scam. A caller claims to be from the IRS and advises the taxpayer that two certified letters have been returned as undeliverable. The taxpayer is threatened with arrest if payment is not made by a specific prepaid debit card which is linked to the EFTPS. The truth is that the debit card is controlled by the scammer.
In this scheme the caller advises the taxpayer that if he/she does not make immediate payment with a specific prepaid debit card or wire transfer a warrant for the taxpayer’s arrest will be issued. If unable to reach the taxpayer the scammer will leave a message making the same threat if the call is not returned.
Private Debt Collection Scams
Scammers pretend to be from a private debt collection agency authorized to collect a delinquent tax debt. Although the IRS began assigning past due accounts to private collection agencies earlier this year, the IRS will notify the taxpayer in writing as to who the collection agency will be. Furthermore, accounts which are placed with a private collection agency are those for which the taxpayer has known for years that a debt is owed to the IRS.
Scams Targeting non-English Speaking Taxpayers
The taxpayer is contacted by phone or e-mail by a scammer who will communicate in the taxpayer’s native language. The taxpayer is threatened with deportation, arrest and license revocation if the tax is not paid immediately through a wire transfer, gift card or preloaded debit card.
How can you be sure that it is a scam and not the IRS or an authorized debt collection agency? Keep the following in mind.
--The IRS will not call demanding immediate payment.
--The IRS will mail a bill asking for payment. Many times there are appeal rights before payment is required.
--The IRS does not use gift cards, debit cards or wire transfers for payment of taxes.
--Payments to the IRS are made to the US Treasury.
--The IRS does not ask for social security numbers, credit card numbers or bank account information over the phone.
Still have doubts? Contact me for help. With more than 30 years of experience representing taxpayers, and as a former IRS attorney, I can help you figure out whether or not you owe the IRS and help you resolve any delinquent tax accounts.