As the Summer Days Continue, Tax Scams Heat Up

IRS AUDITHot weather is not the only thing sweeping the country. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it has received repeated reports of a new tax scam moving through the United States faster than the recent heat wave.


What is this new tax scam? The IRS stated in a recent news release that the scam makes use of the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). The scam consists of a phone call. The taxpayer answers the phone and receives a demand for “immediate tax payment through the use of a prepaid debit card.”


What is different about this tax scam? Contact by phone and demand for payment with a prepaid debit card are two common red flags for a scam. This one is a bit different because the person on the phone claims to be an IRS agent who sent out two certified letters that were returned as undeliverable. Since the letters were not delivered, the caller states that he or she is forced to demand payment over the phone.


Another interesting aspect to this scam is the caller’s use of the EFTPS. The EFTPS is an automated system that does not require the use of a debit card, as purported by the scammer. The scammer is in fact in control of the system that it tells the victim to use for payment. The true EFTPS is a system that is controlled by the United States Department of Treasury and has a number of different payment options including the use of checks, cash or money order through IRS Direct Pay.


What should I do if I get one of these calls? Generally it is best to hang up when you get a threatening phone call demanding a tax payment. These are almost always scams.


Do not give out credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.


If you are concerned that you may have a tax obligation, you can contact the IRS. If the IRS confirms that you owe a tax obligation that you find questionable, it is wise to seek legal counsel. Such claims can be subject to an IRS audit appeal.

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