Tax season may have come and gone, but there’s no offseason for tax-scammers. The IRS recently issued a warning about a prevalent phone scam that’s been reported nationwide this summer. Taxpayers should stay on their toes, and be wary of anyone calling them “from the IRS” demanding money. The IRS details the scam on their website:
“The scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but 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.”
First, there are multiple ways to pay your actual tax bill; the IRS will not demand you pay it one specific way. The EFTPS, short for Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, is a legitimate way for people to pay taxes electronically, but it does not require payment with a prepaid debit card. In what should be a clear giveaway that this is a scam, the fraudster even tells would-be-victims not to contact a tax professional, attorney or IRS office until after the payment has processed.
If the IRS needs to contact you in regard to your tax return, they’re not going to reach out via hostile phone calls demanding money and threatening legal consequences. If you receive such a phone call, divulge no information and hang up immediately. You can also report the call to the IRS through their Impersonation Scam Reporting page.