These tax scams are getting crazy and the scammers are becoming incredibly aggressive. Just the other day I spoke to an accountant who's client happened to owe money to the Internal Revenue Service. So when this client got a call from someone claiming he was an IRS agent demanding money, it really threw him for a loop!
The caller said to the client, "I know you owe the IRS money," and tried to shake him down using incredibly aggressive collection tactics. The caller even threatened to send police officers to his home to arrest him if he didn't pay. Then some red flags started popping up: This "agent" didn't know the exact dollar amount the client owed, and the payment instructions weren't how you'd usually pay the IRS.
When the client asked this "agent" for his IRS identification number and other information the scammer changed his stories a few times, gave a few different numbers, and the scheme started to fall apart. Eventually the client realized this was some sort of tax scam and hung up. But the client remained freaked out thinking, "How do these schemers know I owe money to Uncle Sam?!"
I don't think the scammers have an inside list of of people who owe the Feds money. I do think the con artists know that millions of Americans owe back taxes. So they randomly dial and odds are they're going to reach some poor scared soul indebted to the tax man. Sometimes the schemers are going to succeed using their scare tactics to get some money from the people who fall from it. It's a numbers game and unfortunately it must be working because these thieves still keep dialing for dollars.
The IRS says, "Tax scams can take many forms, with perpetrators posing as the IRS in everything from e-mail refund schemes to phone impersonators." The Feds want to set the record straight:
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
The IRS says some of these scam callers even try to convince people they OWE Uncle Sam money when they don't. For more about this tax scam and others out there click here.