Biggest Tax Scam Ever Sweeps the US

Photo (cc) by MoneyBlogNewz

Be wary if you answer your phone and the caller says he’s an IRS agent. It could be a scam – the largest the Internal Revenue Service has ever seen.

The U.S. Treasury Department says more than 20,000 taxpayers have alerted the government about the scam, and victims have lost more than $1 million total.

This is how it works: A bogus IRS agent calls and claims the intended victim owes taxes, then demands immediate payment with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

The fraudsters often know the last four digits of victims’ Social Security numbers. If victims protest the immediate payment request, the phony agent threatens arrest, deportation, or the loss of a business or driver’s license.

A press release from Treasury also made note of these details about the scam, which is being perpetrated across the country:

  • The callers use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
  • Your caller ID is tricked into making it look as if the IRS is calling.
  • The scammers send bogus IRS emails to support their claim.
  • They call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.

Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George said in the release, “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and uses threatening language if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.”

If you have unpaid taxes, the IRS will probably use the mail to contact you. And the IRS doesn’t ask for payment via a prepaid card or wire transfer, nor would it request credit card information on the phone.

“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” George said. “The increasing number of people receiving these unsolicited calls from individuals who fraudulently claim to represent the IRS is alarming.”

You’re asked to report any suspicious IRS requests directly to the IRS.

Have you gotten one of these calls? Share your experiences below or on our Facebook page.

Also check out this video Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson made about other tax scams you should be on the alert for this year.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 States Where Drivers Pay the Most for Car Insurance
5 States Where Drivers Pay the Most for Car Insurance

Auto insurance will cost you more than three times as much in one state compared with another. Here’s how to lower your rates no matter where you live.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things
How to Get Rid of 6 Hard-to-Sell Things

Find out where to sell, donate or recycle items — and feel good about it.

16 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life
16 Affordable Products That Could Save Your Life

You’ll want to order these sometimes surprising products from Amazon ASAP.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

You probably don’t realize these items are worth decent cash.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire
These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire

If you expect to have modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.