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IRS warns of new "spoofing" phone scam

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 16:59:22-04

The Internal Revenue Service warned of a new phone scheme Tuesday, where scammers imitate IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers to trick taxpayers into paying non-existent tax bills.

Phone scams involving tax returns are a frequent occurrence, particularly during tax season, as April 17 is not a cut off for the felonious. 

In this current fraud, criminals claim to be calling from the TAC office, using a program that displays a legitimate TAC office phone number on the potential victim's caller ID. When victims challenge the fraudster's assertions, they are directed to the IRS.gov website where they can verify the number of the local TAC office. The scammer then hangs up and calls back shortly, "spoofing" the the TAC phone number and demanding the victim pay an outstanding tax fee, typically via credit card. 

Similar scams have been run spoofing numbers of local sheriff's offices, state motor vehicle agencies, federal agencies, and other organizations that add validity to their fraudulent demands.

The IRS warns that its employees at TAC offices do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of overdue tax bills, instead typically using regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service. 

Taxpayers who receive this phone scam or any similar scheme should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site and to email the IRS via phishing@irs.gov with the subject line "IRS Phone Scam."