Imposters pretend to be Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents demanding consumers pay back taxes immediately to avoid being arrested. These con artists sometimes alter the display of your caller ID to make the call seem more legitimate.
Beware as these calls can sound authentic and convincing. No government entity, including the IRS, will ask for your personal financial information through an unsolicited phone call or email.
The IRS will not:
- Contact you regarding payment or taxes without having mailed a letter.
- Demand payment without allowing opportunity for question or appeal.
- Require a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to contact local police or other law enforcement to have you arrested.
If you receive a bogus IRS call:
- Contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040.
- Report the call to the U.S. Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484.
- Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.
A prevalent scheme involves money wire transfers because, once the transfer is initiated, the funds are available immediately for pick up anywhere in the world and are untraceable. By following these simple tips, you can avoid becoming a victim:
- Know who you are wiring money to. Be suspicious of any request that requires you to wire money to a stranger. Even if the request appears to come from, or on behalf of, a friend or relative, be skeptical.
- Avoid wiring money to anyone outside the country. Verify “emergencies” with other family or friends before you wire money. Once the money is sent, it is virtually impossible to cancel the transaction and recover your money.
- If you have placed a classified ad to sell an item, be suspicious if someone offers to send you a check for more than the sale price, especially if you are asked to wire the remainder of the money back to the sender or to some third party.
- Be skeptical of any offers that promise you a commission to simply receive money into your bank account and transfer the funds to another person.
- Falling victim to a money transfer scam puts you at risk of having your checking account wiped clean.