Talk about timing. Just as I was about to post this warning about IRS phone scams, we received a call from a scammer. Listen to what he says:
In case you didn’t catch it, the man said his name is David Grey. The Seattle, Washington, phone number is 206-204-5025. I guess he thinks it is super clever to use a name like Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey, but he’s not trying to lure you into an S&M relationship. This Mr. Grey wants your money. If this number turns up on your caller ID, delete it. Whitepages.com gives it a 4 out of 4 scam rating.
These audacious, out-of-control IRS phone scams concern the IRS so much that the agency issued a new warning urging consumers to beware of callers working the fraud. The agency says it has seen a “huge surge” of calls by scam artists who claim they represent the IRS and demand money, threaten arrest and sometimes deportation.
Investigators say threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents top the list of 2016 tax scams and have cost taxpayers more than $26.5 million since 2013 when the agency began to receive complaints.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said, “There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment. Some schemes may say you are entitled to a huge refund.”
IRS agents never call you to demand money. Commissioner Koskinen explained, “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”
The IRS Scam works like this:
1. The phone rings and an IRS caller ID may even show up on your phone. A caller will identify himself, or herself, with a fake name, title and perhaps a fake IRS badge number.
2. They may use your name and know your address.
3. They will demand that you pay a phony tax bill, money that you don’t owe. They will give specific instructions about how to pay it. They may ask you to use a prepaid debit card, or wire the money.
4. They may leave urgent messages through robocalls or through phishing (phony) emails.
Don’t fall for any of it. Don’t let them push you around. Don’t give them money.
The IRS says:
1. It will never call to demand immediate payment.
2. If you owe money, it will send a bill.
3. It will never demand money without giving you a chance to appeal or challenge the agency.
4. It will never require you to use a specific payment method like a pre-paid card.
5. It will never ask for credit card, or debit information on the phone.
6. It will never threaten to bring local police or other law enforcement agents to have you arrested.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU RECEIVE A CALL FROM THE “IRS.”
If you get a call from a so-called IRS agent, hang up.
Don’t give out any information.
Report the call and the number if you have it to the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Page, or call 1-800-366-4484.
You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission.