Even though the IRS had some success in 2015 shutting down ID theft scams involving people impersonating IRS agents, the problem appears to be getting more wide spread. The most common scams involve phone calls or emails from someone claiming to be collecting back taxes owed to the IRS. Many of them threaten the recipient with arrest if they do not make immediate payment. They usually request bank account numbers, debit card numbers or other personal information they can use to steal your identity and your assets. The vast majority of these scams are done by phone or email, but in some parts of the country they are leaving fake notes on peoples doors threatening legal action if you fail to contact the number on the note promptly.
Here’s some useful information from the IRS about their collection practices.
The IRS will not:
• Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
• Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
• Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
• Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying
These scams were mostly aimed at senior citizens in the past, but they appear to be expanding to many others now. Many of those targeted do not owe taxes to the IRS, but some do. If you owe back taxes to the IRS and want to know your rights and responsibilities, we can help.
The IRS has withdrawn its proposed regulation which would have had charities collecting and reporting social security numbers of all donors who gave over 250 to the charity. The proposed regulation drew a large negative reaction from charities concerned about the additional record keeping requirements and numerous people concerned with an increased risk in ID theft by having social security numbers used more widely. This goes to show that even the IRS listens to taxpayers occasionally.