SOUTHFIELD — Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula has recently received many calls inquiring about the “IRS” calling and leaving a voice mail threatening legal action if the consumer does not respond immediately. Please know that this is NOT the IRS. According to the IRS’ website, if the IRS contacts you, it will first be through U.S. mail, not through phone calls.
Schemers pose as IRS officials threatening legal action and loss of property. Those claiming to be the IRS say it’s urgent and the consumer must respond immediately. Some callers will even demand money to be paid immediately or else there will be consequences.
To protect yourself from losing money, or your personal identifying information, BBB offers these tips, if you receive one of these calls:
- Your first line of defense – If you have caller ID and don’t know the number, don’t answer the phone.
- If you do get one of these calls, hang up the phone – Don’t give out any personal information to these callers.
- Protect Your Personal Information – Never give out personal or financial information such as Social Security number, financial information, credit card information or any passwords.
- If the IRS contacts you, it will be via U.S. Mail first.
- On the IRS’ website, they state you should hang up and not press any buttons when you receive one of these calls. Do not press any buttons on your phone during a scam phone call because it will add you to a “hot list” of active lines, and you will start receiving calls from a multitude of scammers.
- Watch for spoofing- Part of the schemers’ sophisticated tactics includes “spoofing” which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS to appear on caller ID.
- If this happens to you, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately. File a complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Once on this site, select Other and then Imposter Scams. When at the notes section, please include IRS Telephone Scam.
- Also, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484 or https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml .
If you think you do owe money on your taxes call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040
Need to find a business you can trust? Visit www.bbb.org/detroit for a directory of BBB Accredited Businesses or give BBB a call at 248-223-9400. BBB is here to help.
(Information courtesy of Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula)