AUSTIN – With the April 18th income tax deadline looming, Attorney General Ken Paxton is warning Texans to be aware of a recurring tax-related scam involving unsolicited calls from people masquerading as Internal Revenue Service agents. Scam artists tell consumers that they owe back taxes and threaten to have them arrested if they don’t provide immediate payment.
If you receive an unexpected call from someone who claims to be with the IRS, follow these tips from the Consumer Protection Division of the attorney general’s office:
- Hang up! The IRS never makes unsolicited threatening phone calls.
- The IRS will never ask you to send money via wire or a prepaid credit card.
- Don’t be fooled by caller ID indicating it’s the IRS. Scammers use “spoof” phone numbers to give the appearance of being legitimate.
- Be suspicious of voice mail messages from scam artists who claim they’re with the IRS and leave a call back number with a Washington, D.C., area code. Report the phone number to the Texas attorney general’s office and the IRS.
- If you think you may owe money to the IRS, contact it directly at 800-829-1040 or at www.irs.gov.
Some scammers use letters or emails that appear official, however, legitimate communications from the IRS will come in a form letter and typically do not demand sensitive personal information.
Scam communications may include typos or other mistakes that can be a warning sign. When in doubt of a letter’s authenticity, call the IRS to find out if the letter is legitimate.
While the IRS has announced partnerships with some private debt collectors, these businesses will not operate in the same manner as a scammer. Find more information about their operations here: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection.
Help combat fraud in Texas by reporting suspicious solicitations. Write down the date and time of the call, the organization’s name, and the name and phone number left by the solicitor. You can file a complaint online with the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office here:
https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaintand the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration here: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.