March 9th, 2016

Is this call from the IRS a Scam? The answer is typically yes. You already know if you owe Uncle Sam so the calls shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. If you are still skeptical hand up and call the IRS yourself at 1-800-829-1040 and ask if you indeed have an unpaid balance and how to resolve it. If you are unsure and the “IRS Officer” on the other follows this series of questions it’s a scam.
     
        1. Demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call first before sending you many bills by mail. You can expect to get anywhere between 3-6 letters BEFORE getting calls from the Automated Collection Services (ACS) of IRS.
        2. The caller demands that you pay and refuse to give you an opportunity to ask questions. They are playing on your fear of the IRS to make a knee-jerk reaction to pay.
        3. They will ask only for a prepaid debit card or other payment type that cannot be questioned after the fact. You have options to get your money back with a credit card in some instances for fraudulent purchases or theft—its not necessarily true with debit cards. IRS accepts checks, money orders and credit cards. You can sign up to pay your account through www.EFTPS.gov if it’s a legitimate debt.The called asks for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. IRS does not process payments this way.
        4. The biggest lie—they threaten to send the police. The IRS has its own police force (Criminal Investigations Division) and trust me, if this is your situation you will know long before they call you on the phone. This NEVER happens so when they use this tactic you are certainly being scammed.
     
        • Vern is a former IRS Revenue Officer and President of TaxCorp LLC, a specialty accounting firm located in Huntsville, Alabama. He has an MBA from Columbia College and is Associate Professor of Accounting at Oakwood University. He helps businesses and individuals with tax issues across the country and is a sought after expert in the field of IRS Collection matters.