The IRS is warning taxpayers of two new tax scams surfacing this spring as a surge of phishing emails and telephone calls have been reported. One of the scams involves Social Security numbers related to tax issues and the other threatens people with a tax bill from a fictional government agency.
- SSN Scam: This scam usually involves the scammer calling an individual and claiming that they will suspend or cancel the victim’s Social Security number. If the victim does not answer they will leave a voicemail threatening to do so if they do not call back. Scammers may also mention overdue taxes in addition to suspending the person’s SSN. Social Security numbers cannot be canceled or suspended and these threats should not be responded to.
- Fake Tax Agency Scam: This scam involves letters threatening an IRS lien or levy from a fictional government agency, “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.” There is no such agency. The letters arrive in the mail and the lien or levy is based on bogus delinquent taxes owed. This scam likely references the IRS to confuse victims into thinking the letter is legitimate.
Although the two scams outlined above are by telephone and mail, you should also be aware of email scams. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email. If you receive an email that appears to be from the IRS or a related program, it is fraudulent and can be reported by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most legitimate communication from the IRS will be sent by standard mail. There are special circumstances when the IRS will call or come to a home or business, but it is unlikely. The telltale signs of a scam in any form includes threatening language, requesting personal information, such as your SSN or debit/credit card number by phone or email and demanding immediate payment. To report a scam visit the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting page on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website.