Impostor Scam

The Imposter Scams

How the scam works:
The phone rings and your caller ID says the call is from the Internal Revenue Service. A prerecorded voice tells that you owe tax money and will be arrested, prosecuted or face other legal action if you do not immediately send funds, usually using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The call is threatening and convincing — but it’s very likely part of a pervasive, nationwide scam.
Each year, thousands of taxpayers receive suspicious phone calls, emails, faxes, or notices claiming to be from the IRS.
Often, these scams will fraudulently use the IRS name or logo when communicating in order to appear more authentic to victims. The overall objective of the scammers is to trick consumers into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security numbers, bank account, or credit card numbers, which is then used to commit identity theft or steal a consumer’s money, or to get a consumer to send money directly to the scammer.
Identify the scam:
  • The truth is the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.
  • The IRS will never ask for detailed personal and financial information like PIN numbers, passwords, or similar secret access information for credit cards, banks, or other financial accounts. The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through e-mail and will not send a message about a consumer’s tax accounts.
  • The address of the official IRS Web site is Do not be confused or misled by sites claiming to be the IRS that end in .com, .net, .org, or other designations instead of .gov.
  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. Scammers also generally use common names and surnames, like “Steven Martin,” to identify themselves and may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling and can send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV and the caller ID supports their claim.

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