ASHEVILLE NC – With the April 15th tax filing deadline coming up, watch out for criminals and con artists posing as the Internal Revenue Service to try to win your trust and steal your money.
We’ve warned you before about phony calls from the IRS. One North Carolina consumer recently reported getting one of these threatening calls from someone claiming to be with the IRS. The fake IRS agent told him a warrant had been issued for his arrest and, if he did not pay his taxes immediately, police would put him in jail within hours. The caller continued to harass and intimidate him until he felt he had no choice but to pay more than $8,000 to the scammers.
If you get a call that claims to come from the IRS, look for warning signs that it’s scam:
- The IRS will not threaten arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay back taxes immediately.
- IRS agents will never demand immediate payment by credit card, pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
- Typically, the IRS communicates with consumers about tax issues via mail, not by phone, email or text message.
- Ask for the caller’s call back number and employee badge number, and then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to check them out.
- Don’t rely on Caller ID to identify who is calling you, since scammers can manipulate it to make it appear they are calling from the real IRS.
- Never share personal information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account number, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you, even if they claim to be with the IRS. Identity thieves can use this information to open up accounts in your name and even claim your tax refund.
If you spot a tax related scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at ncdoj.gov. If you need help filing your taxes, check out our tips for finding tax help you can trust.