ASK THE CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT TAX AND PAYROLL TAX ATTORNEY – SCAMMERS FROM ALL DIRECTIONS – THE IRS AND FTB ISSUE WARNINGS – PART 2
By Robert S. Schriebman
In a rare press release the California FTB, in conjunction with the IRS, issued a warning to be diligent against scammers seeking to steal taxpayer identification through fraudulent calls, letters and emails impersonating the FTB. The scammers are seeking your personal information concerning an expected refund or processing your tax return. The scammers are making threats and demanding immediate payment through phone calls. The FTB has provided an 800 number for you to call in the event you are contacted by a scammer: 800.852.5711.
The IRS in conjunction with FTB has issued IR-2022-25 on February 3, 2022. This Release addresses 4 areas of scams that are of a concern to both agencies:
- Text Message Scams
- Unemployment Fraud
- Email Phishing Scams
- Phone Scams
In this Part 2, I will discuss both email phishing scams and phone scams.
Email Phishing Scams
The IRS does not communicate by email. Any email you receive purporting to be from the IRS or a program closely linked to the IRS is going to be a scam. If you receive one of these scams, send it as an attachment to the IRS at [email protected]. The Report Phishing and Online Scams page at IRS.gov provides complete details.
The IRS communicates with taxpayers either by mail, telephone, or an in-person visit. In-person visits are usually associated with serious payroll tax deficiencies or criminal investigations.
If you receive a pre-recorded urgent or threatening phone call, you can bet it is not from the IRS or FTB; it’s phony! These calls have gotten very sophisticated. Scammers can fake or “spoof” caller ID numbers and can appear to call anywhere in the nation. The calls have background noise that sound very official. They even have call-back numbers that look very official. These types of calls are not limited to the IRS or FTB. In the past I have warned you about phony law enforcement calls. These scammers are also impersonating calls from a state department and even the DMV. Some of these calls will ask you to make out checks payable to third parties. That’s the big warning sign! If you are paying the IRS, your check should only be made out to only the US Treasury.
IR press release 2022-25 lists specific things that the IRS will never do:
- 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.
- 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.
You can be sure that these scams will continue and will evolve even further. As soon I am alerted to these scams, I will let you know. In the meantime, you should treat any government call or email as phony and suspicious. You can also call us if you are not sure what to do.
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. Mr. Schriebman is in private practice. He is not affiliated in any way with the EDD and he is not employed by the EDD or any other agency of the State of California.
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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