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When the IRS Calls, Should You Answer?

image (4) (1)You hear the phone ring. The caller I.D. says “unidentified”. When you answer, the caller goes into a very credible greeting- ” I am from the Internal Revenue Service. Here is my name and badge number, and you have a prior-year tax debt. You must pay the debt by this Friday or you will go to jail…be indicted…have a lien put on your house…be deported…have your bank account levied….lose your drivers license…have wages garnished. Here is the number to call us back when you are ready to let us know how you are going to pay your debt to avoid these unpleasant consequences.”

The caller says a pleasant good-bye and hangs up. You are sweating profusely and have severe chills at the same time. What should you do?

You may receive the same type of call on your cell phone, or on your voicemail. Should you return the call? When you do, you get a very real sounding IRS-style phone system, and finally you are put through to the representative. They go the same routine as they do if you had answered the call. They know too many details about you and your “case.”  This must be a real IRS agent calling, right?

In reality, this is a very intricate scam. The details used to scare you are obtained through identity theft. The phone system is real but offshore, using U.S. area codes. If you receive one of these calls, or any type of call from the IRS. – don’t panic and don’t return the call. Don’t wire the money to the caller. Do call us so we can help you sort out if the call is a scam. If it follows the fact pattern that I have described- it is a scam. The IRS  is required to send out a series of notices via U.S. Mail if you owe money. They will never, ever, start the process with a phone call. IRS agents rarely call taxpayers, and they will never call to demand immediate payment.

If you ever receive a call from the “IRS” and you are unsure of what to do, call us immediately. We can give you information on where to report the scam call, calm your nerves, and on the very slim chance that a call from an IRS agent is legit, help you sort out your IRS problem.

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