Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman is once again warning Coloradans to avoid falling victim to IRS tax scams. While tax scammers operate year round, their efforts intensify this time of the year. These attempts to swindle often begin with callers claiming to be federal Internal Revenue Service agents seeking immediate payment of taxes. The phony agents use intimidation tactics such as threats of arrest, liens on property, deportation, or driver’s license revocation in to scare consumers into making payments or disclosing personal information.
“These fake IRS agents use every tactic in the book to scam Coloradans out of their hard-earned money. Fear and intimidation are their favorite strong-arm methods to pressure a victim to pay fictitious taxes, fees and penalties that they do not owe,” said Attorney General Coffman. “The imposters often have just enough personal information to convince a taxpayer they are legitimate. But consumers need to remember that NO authentic IRS agent will contact you in this matter.”
Attorney General Coffman advises consumers not to fall for official looking numbers on their caller ID or for “agents” providing badge numbers or other official sounding identification. IRS agent impersonators typically demand immediate payment by wire transfer or with a prepaid money card. The IRS has received nearly 750,000 reports of IRS scam attempts since late 2013 and more than 4,500 victims have collectively paid over $23 million that wasn’t owed to the federal government.
According to the IRS, it will NEVER:
Call you to demand immediate payment; Demand that you pay taxes without allowing you to question or challenge the amount you may owe; Require that you pay your taxes a certain way, such as with a wire transfer or prepaid money card; Ask for your credit or debit card numbers, or other personal information over the phone; or Threaten you with arrest, liens, deportation or license revocation.
“The very best thing you can do if you receive one of these calls, or a similarly threatening email, is to immediately hang up the phone or delete the email message without responding,” advised Attorney General Coffman. “Then file a complaint with our office so we can track these attempts at fraud and hopefully prevent more victims.”
Consumers wishing to report these calls, or who fear that they may be a victim of this scam, are urged to call the Attorney General’s consumer line at 1-800-222-4444 or to file a formal complaint at www.stopfraudcolorado.gov
Consumers can also report these calls to the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at its “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or by calling 800-366-4484. Consumers with genuine concerns that they may owe back taxes should contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1010.