Is that phone call I just got really from the IRS?
If you haven’t had mailings (generally numerous) from the IRS about a tax problem you have, then we think the answer is emphatically NO!
We have never had a taxpayer get a real phone call from the IRS unless they already knew they had a tax problem. Never! Folks who owe the IRS (or the IRS thinks they do) have already had official mailings asking for information or payment plans. The first point of contact is never a phone call. And they’ll never ask you to pay with a phone card or bitcoin, or threaten to have you arrested by local police or sheriff.
Yet, people have fear of the IRS, and a smooth-talking scammer can try to get money or personal information from you over the phone. Don’t fall for it! The IRS very rarely calls taxpayers, and if they do, you’ll already know why they’re calling, because of all of the mail correspondence you’ve already received. Before it gets to that point, you should have already let us handle your situation for you.
The IRS has more information and videos about such scams on their website.
Just hang up if it’s a computer-generated voice or recording. However, if you want to have some fun with the scammers who make live calls, do what my wife does. She plays along for awhile, but at an opportune moment, she asks, “Does your mother know what you do for a living?” Bringing ‘Mom’ into the picture is abhorred in most cultures, including overseas, where most of these calls come from. This works well for other phone scams, like ‘Microsoft’ calling to help with your computer.
According to the IRS, the following are telltale signs of a scam. The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you still have doubt, give us a call. But don’t ever give credit card or personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call.