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ASK THE EDD LAWYER – BEWARE OF LATEST IRS IDENTITY THEFT PHONE SCAM

By Robert S. Schriebman

2018

 

Introduction

The IRS has Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) that help taxpayers and other agencies with various problems. Crooks have found a way to impersonate TACs in an effort to steal your money and identity at the same time. On April 24, 2018, the IRS published an information release, IR-2018-103, to give you a "heads-up" in the latest scam.

This is a new telephone scam where the crooks pretend to be calling from a local TAC unit. They are so sophisticated that they have programmed their own computers to display the real TAC phone number that appears on your telephone caller ID. The scammer moves in quickly to separate you from your money. Here is how it works.

IRS – TAC Phone Scam

The phone rings displaying the real honest-to-goodness TAC call back number. The caller demands tax payment for a bogus IRS debt. Logically, most people who do not owe the IRS will question the demand for payment. This is where the scam comes into play: the caller directs the taxpayer to the official IRS website, "IRS.gov" to look up the local TAC office telephone number to verify that number. Then the crook hangs up, and waits a short time. The crook calls back a second time where they are able to fake or "spoof" the caller ID to appear to be the IRS office making the call. After the victim has "verified" the call number the crooks then go through their sophisticated routine to demand money by credit or debit card payment.

This new fraud is so successful that it has fooled local law enforcement, State Department of Motor Vehicles, and even other federal agencies. They are not looking for payments from these agencies, but are after sensitive ID information.

What the IRS Wants You to Know

IRS TAC offices never call taxpayers demanding money. Taxpayers are usually contacted by the mail. For more serious tax debts an IRS Collector, known as a Revenue Officer, will make a personal call. The Revenue Officer will have proper identification and will leave an official business card.

Taxpayers owing tax debts usually receive a series of letters. Two of the letters will be sent by certified mail.

The IRS never demands that a specific payment method be made. They do not demand payment by debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS will never ask for debit or credit card numbers over the phone.

Under current IRS procedures, taxpayers are given the right to take advantage of the Collection Due Process procedure. No money need be paid until a payment arrangement or other avenues of resolution be explored and negotiated with an official IRS Settlement Officer (SO).

The IRS will never threaten a taxpayer by bringing in local enforcement or immigration officers. Only in the most egregious cases will criminal enforcement be considered.

Conclusion

Taxpayers who receive the IRS phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to the IRS by emailing [email protected] with the subject line "IRS Phone Scam."

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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.

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