Taxpayers have lost more than $1 million this year in a scam where telephone callers are impersonating Internal Revenue Service officials. The impersonators are calling taxpayers and telling them they owe the IRS money and request payment via phone using a prepaid debit/credit card or wire transfer. If the caller balks at making the payment they are threatened with loss of driver's license, deportation, and/or imprisonment.
When calling, the scammers know the last four of the taxpayer's social security number and have a phone number that appears to be the IRS on a caller ID. In some cases they also follow up with taxpayers via official looking emails and call back claiming to be the police or the department of motor vehicles to further their ruse. Again, the caller ID supports the impersonator's assertions.
The IRS first warned of this scam in November 2013 and included it on its Dirty Dozen tax scam list for 2014. At first the scam seemed to be targeting new immigrants, but has since hit almost every state in the U.S.
The IRS wants taxpayers to know that its agents will not make these type of threats, or request bank card or bank information via phone. If you or someone you know gets a call like this and do NOT owe taxes to please call 800-366-4484; if you do owe taxes please call 800-829-1040. You may also check the IRS' website at www.irs.gov to view its current Dirty Dozen scam list.