published December, 2014
Here is a “cut and paste” from the IRS:
The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.
These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can 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.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. 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:
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
Remember, too, 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.
Additional information about tax scams are available on IRS social media sites, including YouTubeand Tumblr where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.
published August, 2014
Apparently there is a current scam where someone calls, usually to your cell phone, impersonates the IRS and demands you pay for “back taxes” or you’ll go to jail or they will suspend your driver’s license.
They make their caller ID appear as if they are the IRS.
They send a bogus email appearing to be from the IRS.
They call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV.
The IRS does not call your cell phone and instruct you where to go to wire them money, or stay on the phone with you while you drive to Wallmart to buy a “cash card” and read them the numbers over the phone to pay your tax bill. The IRS will not ask for a credit card number over the phone. The IRS will not stay on the phone with you. In fact, it will probably take you several hours of being on hold to talk to someone at all.
I heard about this scam at the IRS National Tax Forum in San Diego in July. The callers apparently find the names of real IRS employees, and its extra specially good if they have the last four digits of your social security number. But don’t send them any money.
If you get a call from “the IRS,” tell them you have representation and they should talk to your enrolled agent. If you think you owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
published May, 2014
Have you received a call from “the IRS” saying there’s some trouble with your taxes and you have to pay up in the next two hours or they’ll seize your assets? It’s probably not true. In fact, it’s undoubtedly a scam to get your credit card number. If you get one of these calls, feel free to tell them to call your enrolled agent.
published April, 2014
Apparently some people have received emails from the “Taxpayer Advocate” purporting there is some problem with your tax return, and if you’ll only log in and enter your name, address, birthdate and tax id…for identification, you know…they’ll happily solve your problems. I guess this would be true if your problem is you haven’t had your identity stolen lately. The IRS doesn’t send emails. Feel free to contact me if you’re suspicious.
published April, 2013
From the IRS: On July 20, 2010, in San Diego, California, David Canales was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,021,063 in restitution. On March 24, 2010, Canales pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion. According to the plea agreement, between 2001 and 2008, Canales operated a tax preparation and bookkeeping business in Chula Vista, California. Canales admitted that he controlled two bank accounts in the fictitious business names International Recovery Systems (“IRS”) and Freight Transport Brokers (“FTB”). Canales further admitted that he falsely represented to his clients that they owed substantial amounts of tax to the Internal Revenue Service and California Franchise Tax Board and directed his clients to write checks to “IRS” and “FTB.” Canales admitted that instead of forwarding these checks and the tax returns to the IRS and FTB, Canales deposited the checks into his own “IRS” and “FTB” bank accounts and either did not submit the clients’ returns to the relevant taxing authority or submitted different returns showing little or no tax due and owing. Canales admitted that he caused losses in excess of $1,000,000 and willfully evaded payment of income taxes on $457,653 in income he earned for the years 2003–2007.
published March, 2012
‘Tis the Season to receive fake phishing emails from scammers.
My email spam catcher has received hundreds of “Your tax appeal is rejected,” “Rejection of your tax appeal,” “Termination of your accountant license,” or “Fraudulent tax return assistance accusations” from some combination of these email addresses.
First off—its irs.GOV and aicpa.ORG, not .COM
Second—I’m not a CPA, never was, don’t particularly want to be. I’m an Enrolled Agent, and I do have a federal license to prepare tax returns granted by the IRS (.gov), not a CPA. I’m ‘all qualified up’ having finished my continuing education requirements, and none of my tax appeals are ever rejected—at least not by email!
Third—The IRS DOES NOT EMAIL. They think it is an insecure method of communication. These are phishing scams—nefarious people trying to get me to disclose confidential personal information.
If you’re getting these too and you’d like to “turn the scammers in” do not “reply,” do not open any attachments, and do not click on any links. Forward the email as-is to phishing@irs.GOV then delete the email.
published October, 2011
These are both scams. If you get an email from “The IRS,” it is someone phishing for your account info. I’ve got them in my spam filter from admin, info, donotreply and rules dot nacha. All Scams. The IRS does not send emails; they don’t think they’re secure enough to send personal data. They mail you a letter if something is wrong, and you usually have 30 days to reply. Do make sure they have your correct mailing address, and if you need to update your address, you can call them at 800-829-1040 or complete and send Form 8822 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822.pdf If you’re annoyed with the emails, you can forward them (don’t reply, don’t open attachments, don’t click on any links!) to firstname.lastname@example.org then delete the original email.
If you get an email from the “IRS,” it is probably “phishing” for your personal information. The IRS won’t even receive an email from me after I’ve made contact with a Revenue Officer or Revenue Agent—they don’t consider email to be secure enough to communicate about a taxpayer’s information.
The California State Board of Equalization DOES send letters out asking for people who don’t think they have a sales tax issue to file online and report any “use tax” for things purchased out of state that you are the “end user” of. It’s like if you purchase books from Amazon.com, you don’t pay sales tax because they ALWAYS ship from out of state—I know, because when someone orders my physical book from Amazon in San Leandro, I ship a book to Kentucky, and they ship it back to San Leandro from “out of state” so they don’t have to deal with sales tax. Admittedly, California sales tax is quite messy—rates changing mid-year and different rates apply depending on the CITY of the recipient—hard to program into a website.
The BOE has been sending delinquent filing letters to companies who need to file a Use Tax return. If you get one of these, it’s probably legitimate—if you have questions, fax me a copy and I can confirm “it’s real” for you. If you need help filling out the filings, I can help with that too. You’ll need to assemble the information about any out-of-state purchases—like things bought from Amazon, or if you’re “retailing,” we’ll have to talk.
I originally wrote about this issue of the BOE in November 2009 when they first announced they would be sending these out. For a more extensive discussion, please go to www.taxbuddha.com/newsletter/newsletter_2009_11.html
published September, 2010
The IRS does NOT send out e-mails advising you that your EFTPS payment has been rejected. If you get an e-mail, it is someone trying to trick you into revealing your bank info. You might see:
“Your Federal Tax Payment ID: 96863768 has been rejected.
Return Reason Code R21 – The identification number used in the Company Identification Field is not valid.
Please, check the information and refer to Code R21 to get details about your company payment:”
bogus url given with “eftpsgovservice” in the address
If you receive a message claiming to be from the IRS or EFTPS, please do not reply to the sender, access links on the site or submit any information to them. Forward the message immediately to the IRS at email@example.com.
published October, 2009
This turned out to be way more popular a topic in September than I expected, many people reported receiving scam letters that appeared to be “official” from the Secretary of State. Take a look in the archives to see what I said last month, coming soon!
Also the IRS doesn’t tell you about amounts due or “refunds” via e-mail, a phishing scam.