If you follow me on Facebook, you’d know I recently got a voice mail from an “Agent Smith from the IRS” stating to IMMEDIATELY call his number as several IRS agents were en-route to arrest me for not paying my taxes. Since I’m up to date on my tax payments, I certainly wasn’t worried about agents coming by for a visit (and thankfully none did!)
Couple of my clients had received similar calls earlier this year, as have other people I know so don’t be surprised if you get a call like this. If you do, get as much info as you can, including the person’s name (or whatever they’re willing to tell you), an Employee ID (all IRS employees have an ID number and are required to disclose it). Also, be sure to record the day and time of the call, and the caller ID if you can.
You can then call 800.366.4484 to see if the call was legitimate. If it wasn’t you should report the incident to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) – here’s that link.
Other people have said they’d gotten emails from the IRS asking the person to send copies of their W2 or other personal info (bank info usually) so a return could be processed. Unfortunately, these types of messages (email in particular) are usually scams or phishing schemes. These emails should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it from your system.
I went to the IRS website and found a page describing what to do in the event you get a ‘suspicious IRS-related communication’ – here’s the link. There’s a bunch of good info there, including how to respond to schemes and where to report it, plus tips on preventing identity theft (an issue I discuss with all my clients and have a free handout on – click here for your copy). I especially like the YouTube videos on identity theft that are linked from the IRS page. The page also has additional info on dealing with suspect faxes (never had to deal with that), websites and texts (something I’ve not even heard of until now). This is a good resource and recommend reviewing it and forwarding it to people that may need the info.
In my case, I did report the call to the IRS (sent an email to email@example.com – subject of “IRS Phone Scam”). Also, I went to the TIGTA page and filled in information. Recommend you do the same so the IRS can get more info on the scams and (hopefully) take some action to stop them.
Have you dealt with these scammers? Would love to hear your stories and how you handled the calls, emails, faxes, etc. Please contact me through the form below.
Thomas C. Hodge, CPA
The Hodge Group
4118 N. Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618