CFPB Issues Alert for IRS Imposter Scams During Tax Season

The alert informs consumers about the difference between communications from the IRS and a scammer. ACA also has tips for working with consumers during tax season.

3/14/2019 1:00 PM

CFPB Issues Alert for IRS Imposter Scams During Tax Season

With tax season underway, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued an alert on “IRS imposter scams.”

“An IRS imposter scam is when someone contacts you pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They falsely say that you owe taxes and must pay them immediately or face serious penalties,” reports Erin Scheithe, content specialist in the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans, in a blog post.

Scheithe provides an overview of how scammers appear to be real callers from the IRS and how consumers can determine if the call is from an IRS imposter.

“Not only are the calls, voicemails, emails, or text messages from IRS imposters scary, but they seem real. The caller ID on your phone might say ‘Internal Revenue Service’ or ‘Federal Government,’” according to Scheithe. “It might even have the real number for the IRS. Or the scammer might give you a name and badge number with a telephone number to gain your trust. These scammers use technology and their smarts to focus on making their scams seem as real as possible. Don’t fall for it.”

Here, according to Scheithe, is what the IRS WON’T do when they contact a consumer:

  • Call to demand immediate payment with a prepaid debit card, gift card, or wire transfer. 
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested or deported for not paying.
  • Demand payment without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Contact you by email, text message, or through social media to request personal or financial information such as PINs, passwords, credit card, bank, or other account information.

Read more on IRS imposter scams in the CFPB’s article.

ACA International applauds the work of the IRS and other government agencies in thwarting the egregious and unlawful practices of bad actors who seek to harm consumers. ACA also believes that it is important to clearly distinguish between illegal operations and scammers who have no intention of complying with the law.

ACA International also has several tips for collectors working with consumers during tax season previously reported in Collector magazine.

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