This year, sophisticated phone scams have been on the rise. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Victims who refuse to cooperate, are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license.
What makes these phone calls particularly convincing is that scammers use fake IRS badge numbers and are able to recite the last four digits of a victim's social security number. Scammers also spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling. They follow-up the phone call with fake IRS emails to some victims to support their scam calls.
Scammers go as far as playing background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site. After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the scams like this and expect the problem to grow.
If you receive a call as described above, you may report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800.366.4484.