By Robert S. Schriebman
We try to keep you informed of the latest IRS scams that are brought to our attention. This website contains several articles discussing IRS scams and the ploys used by scammers to separate you from your hard earned money. It seems that no one is immune from these scammers. I get them too. On June 5, 2018 the IRS issued Tax Tip 2018-86 setting forth the most popular scams that have been brought to the government's attention. You should know them.
If I could give you one golden rule to protect yourself from scammers it would be this: If you do not believe you owe any taxes, hang up the phone. It is that simple!
IRS Tax Tip 2018-86 (June 5, 2018)
The latest tax tip from the IRS alerts us that summer is coming. There seems to be a correlation between summertime and increased scamming activities. These scammers attempt to separate you from your money and steal your refund by obtaining critical information such as your Social Security number, bank account information and even passwords (It's sad to think that there are people out there who will give out their password to a strange voice over the phone.) Many of these calls are robo-calls. You don't actually talk to a person.
Here are the most common schemes currently in use:
- The caller demands immediate payment by use of a pre-paid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. The caller never tells you to make a check payable to the US Treasury.
- The caller threatens to contact the local police or sheriff department and threatens to arrest you for not paying.
- The caller demands immediate payment without giving you the opportunity to question the caller or an opportunity to go through your records and then return the call.
- The caller demands your debit or credit card number, and passwords. The IRS will never do this.
- You may be contacted via email, text message or even social media. The IRS does not use any of these.
You May Actually Owe Taxes - What Do You Do?
Sometimes these scammers get lucky and reach someone who owes the IRS and either refuses to pay or cannot pay in full. I'm sure this type of call is very intimidating. If you happen to be one of these people, here is what you should do:
- Go online to the official IRS website at IRS.gov. Lookup your account and see how much you actually owe. Taxpayers who owe $25,000 or less can call toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. You can negotiate a workable installment payment arrangement over the phone without the necessity of hiring professional representation.
- If you receive a bill from the IRS, call the number on the billing notice and work out a solution. Most of the time, that number is 1-800-829-1040.
- Give us a call at (310) 541-2044 to determine if the call you received is legitimate.
Compare to just a couple of years ago when these types of calls were rather crude, today's scam calls are quite sophisticated. There is background noise that sounds like you are getting a call from an IRS call center. The call back number may have a Washington D.C. area code. This is how these scammers fool you. Make no mistake by underestimating these crooks. They are smart, and they work hard at their trade. They are constantly upgrading their scam techniques to appear like the real deal. What I told you are the beginning of this article - Go with your gut - if you do not believe you owe the IRS, hang up
Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.
Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure," both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Web Site Article 331