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Tax Tip Tuesday: Robo-Call Tax Scams on the Rise

IRS impersonation scams are on the rise. They can take many forms, but recently there has been a surge in robo-call phone scams.

The IRS warns that scammers are using robo-calls (automated phone calls) and are demanding tax payments on iTunes or other gift cards.

The scammers leave urgent callback requests and demand that the taxpayer pay their tax bill. They claim that this is the last warning before legal action will be taken. If the taxpayer calls them back, the scammers threaten that if they don’t pay, their driver’s license will be taken away, they will be arrested, or they will be deported.

The IRS stresses that any request to pay a tax bill through any type of a gift card is a clear indication of a scam.

Also, the IRS notes that fake calls can take many forms and that scammers are constantly changing their strategies.

Knowing the telltale signs scammers use can help you avoid becoming a victim. Scammers will:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, or call about taxes owed without first having mailed the taxpayer a bill.

  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

  • Demand that the taxpayer pay taxes without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they claim is owed.

  • Require that the taxpayer use a specific payment method for the taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.

  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If an individual gets a phone call from someone claiming to be from IRS and asking for money and the individual doesn't owe taxes, the taxpayer should not give out any information and hang up immediately. If the taxpayer thinks he might owe taxes, he should call IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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