It's tax season, which means it's that time of year where scammers come out of the woodwork, posing as IRS employees in an attempt to dupe people into giving up their personal information and money. It's a nasty business that most of us could do without. Just today, Marilyn Geewax from NPR wrote that she received a stern voice mail from someone the other day claiming they were from the IRS.
"This is the IRS. We have been attempting to reach you. The IRS has filed a lawsuit against you. You must call 202-xxx-xxxx immediately. There will be no further warning."
In my own experience, with calls relating to “debt collectors,” I've found the best course of action is to ask questions (or hang up). If they ask for my name, I ask for theirs first, then the name and address of the company they are representing, and for what purpose they are calling me. At this point, the pushier ones will continue to ask for your name or other information, but most will realize their time is better spent trying to scam someone else.
For Geewax, when she called the “IRS” back, the conversation was quite brief. Maybe it was the part of the conversation where she told him how she worked for NPR or when she started asking questions about where his office was based.
During a speech by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, he made it clear that:
"The last thing you'll ever hear from an IRS agent of any kind is threats that we are about to throw you in jail unless you pay us immediately or put money into a particular account."
But most of you reading this article are well aware of the dangers and may know better than to give away your information over the phone. However, there are people out there who don't. The elderly and ill-informed are at risk, so call your parents and grandparents to spread the word.
Koskinen reported that while the “number of reported calls is going up," he was happy to also report "the number of people who have fallen prey to this scam is down significantly."
Remember: The IRS will only ever contact you by mail — not email — envelope and paper snail mail.
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