The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning the public about a phone and email scam that targets taxpayers throughout the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must be paid promptly using a pre-paid debit card of wire transfer. The callers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license.
Chracteristics of this scam include:
- Scammers use fake but common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.
- Scammers make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling (415.843.1151 often appears as the number calling).
- Scammers send bogus IRS emails to support the scam phone call.
- Scammers will threaten victims, hangup and call again pretending to be the local police or DMV.
The IRS contacts taxpayers regarding unpaid taxes by mail -- not by phone and not by email. If an IRS agent is discussing your unpaid taxes, they will never ask for payment using a prepaid debit card nor a wire transfer. The agency will not ask for your credit card number for payment over the phone either.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, here's what to do:
- If you owe or think you might owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800.829.1040. IRS workers will help you with your payment questions.
- If you don't owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasurey Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800.366.4484.
- You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comment line of your complaint.
The Mill Valley Police Department has recently filed two reports regarding this scam. If you are contacted or a victim of a scam, please call 415.389.4100 or 415.446.4526 to report the incident.