The IRS has warned taxpayers of a new twist on the impersonation phone scam as criminals fake calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). In this scam, criminals “spoof” the telephone number of the TAS office in Houston or Brooklyn. Calls might be ‘robo-calls’ that request a call back. Once the taxpayer returns the call, the criminal requests personal information, including Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.
The IRS reminded taxpayers that TAS does not initiate calls or reach out to taxpayers unless they would contact TAS for help first. The Service further informed taxpayers that other variations of impersonation scams have the following characteristics:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves;
- Scammers may know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number;
- Scammers spoof caller ID to make the phone number appear as if the IRS or another local law enforcement agency is calling;
- Scammers may send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their bogus calls;
- Victims hear background noise of other calls to mimic a call site; and
- After threatening victims with jail time or with, driver’s license or other professional license revocation, scammers hang up.
In addition, the Service reminded taxpayers that it does not demand payment by a specific method, without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount taxpayers owe or threaten to bring in law enforcement to have taxpayers arrested for not paying taxes. Moreover, taxpayers were advised to report IRS or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “IRS Phone Scam” or use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page.