It’s tax season, and the IRS is warning about phone calls from criminals impersonating government officials. In the latest insidious twist on a scam related to Social Security numbers (SSN), scammers threaten to suspend or cancel your SSN. It’s another nasty attempt by con artists to scare people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails.
Scammers may mention overdue taxes in addition to threatening to cancel your SSN. If you receive a call threatening to suspend your SSN for an unpaid tax bill, just hang up. This is a scam.
No matter what the caller says, NEVER give out sensitive information including SSNs, checking account numbers, or addresses over the phone. Here are some signs of this scam. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments.
- Ask a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the U.S. Treasury.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
You can report these calls in the following ways:
- Report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Report the caller ID and callback number to the IRS by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. The taxpayer should write “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line
- Watch this video from the Federal Trade Commission about how this scam operates see: https://youtu.be/yPY-HFXZS24
Source: IRS Tax Tip 2019-149, October 24, 2019.