Tax Tip Tuesday: A New Twist on an Old Scam
Taxpayer beware, the scammers are still out there.
The IRS recently warned people to watch out for a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the internet or by phone using the EFTPS Voice Response System. This scam is being reported across the country.
In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters allegedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail that they claim were returned as undeliverable.
The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney, or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.
EFTPS is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury and doesn't require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. Since EFTPS is an automated system, taxpayers won’t receive a call from the IRS. In addition, taxpayers have several options for paying a real tax bill and are not required to use a specific one.
“This is a new twist on an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”
Tell Tale Signs of a Scam
The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you have any questions about being contacted by the IRS, or someone claiming to be from the IRS, please give us a call at 515-225-3141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be taking a two-week break and will be back with a new edition of Tax Tip Tuesday on Tuesday, July 11th.
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