irs scam hardshipMany taxpayers are facing a new IRS scam that seems to be stemming from overseas, just like many of the previous IRS telephone scams. The familiar IRS scam that was reported by government authorities, blogs, and the media involves a scammer pretending to be from the IRS. The scammer states that you owe the IRS money and if you do not pay you will be faced with a lawsuit or incarceration if you fail to comply. Unfortunately, the fear and threats by this scam artist cause many taxpayers to hand over the money quickly or give companies like ours a call. However, the a new IRS telephone scam has a different twist to it. How did we find out? Well, we take calls all day from taxpayers needing help with the IRS and/or state so when we heard about this call from many callers and some of our clients we asked the potential victims for more information on it.

Hardship or Refund IRS Telephone Scam

The new scam works in a different way. Instead of threatening taxpayers with a lawsuit or jail time, the taxpayer is fraudulently informed that they are owed money from a particular year because of “hardship.” Others state that the scam artists state that their was an “adjustment” and that a large refund is due to them. Obviously, people are more willing to comply with a scam artist if they think they are getting money. Next, the scammer provides the taxpayer with a phone number to call and confirmation code to use in order to “receive their hardship refund or tax refund.”

When one of our clients (who didn’t fall prey to this scam) informed us of the call he received, we asked him for the phone number and details regarding the situation.  Well, we called the phone number just to see what this was all about in order to better understand the scam and inform everyone who reads our blog about it. When we called, the person who answered pretended he was from the IRS and stated that we needed to provide a confirmation code in order to receive the money owed to us. Once the confirmation code is provided, they then ask for banking information, or a debit card, in order to put the so called “money owed” to the taxpayer back into their bank account. Obviously, the scammers intend to either charge a taxpayer’s debit card, credit card, or pull money from their bank account.

Here Is What the IRS Will Not Do

The IRS generally sends letters to taxpayers when their is a tax problem or is money owed to them. If you haven’t received any letters,  then most likely the call is a scam artist. The IRS also will never demand payment of back taxes without giving a taxpayer the ability to question it or appeal a certain decision. More importantly, even when you do owe, the IRS will never ask that you pay your taxes a certain way (with a credit card, debit card etc).

Even with this new scam, in the case of a refund or money owed to a taxpayer, the IRS would send a letter as well.  More importantly, the IRS will never ask for banking, credit card, or debit card information over the phone.

Here Is How To Report the Scam

If you really believe you are owed a refund, hang up, and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. If you know that what you experienced was a scam, do the following:

  • Call TIGTA to report the call at 1-800-366-4484 or visit their webpage on IRS impersonation and report it there.
  • Report it to the FTC via their website.