IRS called: “Pay by Gift Card or go to Jail”. It is Phishing

Recently I received a call from a long time friend who was frantic because her son received a phone call from a person claiming to be an IRS Agent. He demanded immediate payment of a passed due tax liability. Why was  Janice was so upset? She was worried her son would lose his federal job putting his young family at financial risk. WHAT SHOULD I DO PATRICK????.

Here is some reference material ; use if it happens to you or your employees or family.

The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. This includes requests for PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a scam typically carried out through unsolicited email and/or websites that pose as legitimate sites and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information.

Report all unsolicited email claiming to be from the IRS or an IRS-related function to phishing@irs.gov. If you’ve experienced any monetary losses due to an IRS-related incident, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General Administration (TIGTA) and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through their Complaint Assistant to make the information available to investigators.

RS-Impersonation Telephone Scams

A sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a gift card or wire transfer. Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Other tricks:

  • Some thieves have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not to trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For details see the IRS video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service.
  • Limited English Proficiency victims are often approached in their native language, threatened with deportation, police arrest and license revocation, among other things. IRS urges all taxpayers caution before paying unexpected tax bills.
  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

 

Soliciting Form W-2 information from payroll and human resources professionals.

The IRS has established a process that will allow businesses and payroll service providers to quickly report any data losses related to the W-2 scam currently making the rounds. If notified in time, the IRS can take steps to prevent employees from being victimized by identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in their names. There also is information about how to report receiving the scam email.

 

Report these schemes:

Email dataloss@irs.gov to notify the IRS of a W-2 data loss and provide contact information. In the subject line, type “W2 Data Loss” so that the email can be routed properly. Do not attach any employee personally identifiable information.

Email the Federation of Tax Administrators at StateAlert@taxadmin.org to learn how to report victim information to the states.

Businesses/payroll service providers should file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov). Businesses/payroll service providers may be asked to file a report with their local law enforcement.

Notify employees so they may take steps to protect themselves from identity theft. The FTC’s www.identitytheft.gov provides general guidance.

Forward the scam email to phishing@irs.gov.

Employers are urged to put protocols in place for the sharing of sensitive employee information such as Forms W-2. The W-2 scam is just one of several new variations that focus on the large-scale thefts of sensitive tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies.

Phishing (as in “fishing for information”) is a scam where fraudsters send e-mail messages to trick unsuspecting victims into revealing personal and financial information that can be used to steal the victims’ identity.

Scam emails are designed to trick taxpayers into thinking these are official communications from the IRS or others in the tax industry, including tax software companies. These phishing schemes may seek information related to refunds, filing status, confirming personal information, ordering transcripts and verifying PIN information.

Be alert to bogus emails that appear to come from your tax professional, requesting information for an IRS form. IRS doesn’t require Life Insurance and Annuity updates from taxpayers or a tax professional. Beware of this scam.

Variations can be seen via text messages. The IRS is aware of email phishing scams that include links to bogus web sites intended to mirror the official IRS web site. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.” These emails are not from the IRS.

The sites may ask for information used to file false tax returns or they may carry malware, which can infect computers and allow criminals to access your files or track your keystrokes to gain information.

Fraudsters Posing as Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

Some taxpayers receive emails that appear to be from the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP) about a tax refund. These emails are a phishing scam, trying to trick victims into providing personal and financial information. Do not respond or click any link. If you receive this scam, forward it to phishing@irs.gov and note that it seems to be a scam phishing for your information.

TAP is a volunteer board that advises the IRS on systemic issues affecting taxpayers. It never requests, and does not have access to, any taxpayer’s personal and financial information.

ABOUT OUR COMPANY: New Life Tax Resolution is built on the foundation of our Core Values, including commitment, trust and respect for our clients. Our goal is to provide every client with efficient, permanent relief from the stressful burden of tax debt. We don’t just want you to be free from debt, we want you to leave New Life Tax Resolution with the knowledge and tools you need to never find yourself in the same situation again.

Our company is uniquely poised to help with a variety of issues from bankruptcy to back taxes, audits, liens and levies, wage garnishments, and other issues.  It is possible to be free and clear of looming IRS issues. To see what programs, you may qualify for CLICK HERE.  If you are a phone person, you can call New Life Tax Resolution today at 407-287-6638.

 

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About Patrick LeClaire

After 15 years in corporate finance and Tax Preparation, I formed a company as an Enrolled Agent. I insist on superior customer service and the highest standards available as I embark on a journey to resolve one case at a time at New Life Tax Resolution.