The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning of increased reports of scammers targeting groups and individuals who may be new immigrants or those with limited English proficiency. The scams typically feature an individual impersonating an IRS agent and making phone calls to unsuspecting victims. The scammers can be threatening in nature and intimidate potential victims by stating they are facing jail time, arrest, deportation, or revocation of a driver’s license or immigration documentation. These calls could be in English or in the victim’s native language and the scammer often
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen offered some advice:
“Don’t be fooled. Regardless of the language being used, the IRS won’t be calling out of the blue to verify your personal tax information or threaten you to make an immediate tax payment using a specific method of payment, such as on a pre-paid debit card.”
To reiterate, the IRS will not contact you by phone and does not act on behalf of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to target immigrants for deportation. The IRS will not ask you to verify your identity or provide private information such as Social Security numbers or financial information over the phone.
The IRS warns:
These con artists can sound convincing. They use fake names and IRS identification numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official. They often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, ignore the threats and do not engage the impersonators. The IRS suggests that you follow these steps when receiving a call:
- Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
- Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
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