WATER VALLEY – Tax time is around the corner and a local CPA is warning to be wary of scams that often surface during the filing season.
Joe Black reported a client in the area had already received a call from someone impersonating an IRS agent and demanding immediate payment for fictitious outstanding taxes.
“The caller claimed a fraudulent tax return had been filed and requested a $4,500 payment,” Black said. The twist on this latest scam was the caller requested the money be placed on a prepaid cash card. The scam turned even more sinister when the bogus agent told the caller he would pick up the payment in person.
“They told the person they knew where he lived,” Black added. “This was a local scam, anytime they offer to come by and pick the money up, that is somebody that is not very far away,” Black explained.
Thankfully in this case someone intervened before the money changed hands, but Black said the senior citizen was caught off guard with the phone call with someone claiming IRS credentials.
“Number one, the IRS will never call you by telephone out of the blue,” Black explained. The same goes for emails, as IRS protocol is to always initiate contact through the mail, according to Black.
“They always communicate by letter, initially. A regular letter will be the first thing you will get,” Black added. And if you don’t respond, a certified letter will likely follow outlining potential actions the IRS may take to collect a tax debt.
Black explained that an IRS agent may actually come to your business or home, but will only do that after they have made several attempts to contact you by other means. And if you do talk to an agent they will always do two things: provide their identify and employee number.
“If you get a phone call, don’t be confrontational,” Black recommended. Instead immediately call the sheriff’s department and let the sheriff handle the matter from there, especially if it appears the caller may be in the area. Black also recommended contacting the IRS Criminal Investigation Hotline at 1-800-829-0433.