The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a new poster to further warn taxpayers of a recent trend of unsolicited and illicit calls by people who are claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury employees attempting to reclaim unpaid federal taxes.
According to J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, “As the tax filing season approaches, it is critical that all taxpayers remember to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be IRS and Treasury employees.” Furthermore, J. Russell George claims that although there has been tremendous progress in investigating these fraudulent calls, the callers remain undeterred.
Karen Kraushaar, the Director of Communications for TIGTA, informed in TIGTA’s press release that the J. Russell George “announced the indictment of 56 alleged scammers and five call centers in India associated with the scam, the largest tax impersonation scam ever seen in the United States.” Moreover, she states that 21 alleged scammers were arrested in the United States.
Accordingly, Karen claims that TIGTA has been investigating this scam since the fall of 2013, and as of now, there have been more than 1.8 million reports to TIGTA by individuals who have received such illicit calls. Of those 1.8 Million, 9,600 have reported that they paid the scammers over $50 million.
As stated in TIGTA’s press release, it is imperative for taxpayers to know that the IRS typically contacts taxpayers regarding unpaid taxes by mail first, not by phone. Additionally, Karen states that unlike these scammers, the IRS will not “insist on payment using an iTunes card, gift card, prepaid debit card, money order, or wire transfer.” Moreover, she claims that “the IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media”, and especially “will not ask for a credit card number over the phone”.
If you happen to get such an illicit call, TIGTA recommends the following:
- If you owe money to the IRS in Federal taxes, or think you might, call 800-829-1040. The employees of the IRS can help you with any related questions.
- If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation Scam” form on tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
- You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov
- If you get an illicit e-mail by these scammers, forward the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. And DO NOT open any attachments or links within the email.