The IRS Scam: A Cautionary Tale

Just this week a client of the firm received a telephone call at the client’s home number and left a message to the effect that the client must call the IRS urgently or to have their attorney call. The client called an attorney in the firm who researched the telephone number and found it to be located in the Pomona, California area. When the attorney called that number, an individual represented that he was with the US Treasury Department and that the call involved a situation in which an arrest warrant was going to be issued to the client. Knowing that the client had done no wrong and knowing that the US Treasury always sends written notification of taxes that are due, he questioned the purported “agent” who promptly hung up.   If you receive a call from someone purporting to be from the IRS or the US Treasury Department, here’s what you should do:

•If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there really is such an issue.

•If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats like arrest), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

•You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

Also, please be advised that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact any member in our firm’s Tax Group.

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