Recently, the Kern County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in the number and types of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) telephone scams.
Callers often demand money or allege you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office urges people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls. Many of these calls sound legitimate, however the IRS has formal procedures in place for people with tax issues and high-pressure sales tactics and threats are not how the IRS conducts business.
How to Identify Fake IRS Calls and Scams
Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Impostor Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Remember, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.