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5 Tips to Identify the IRS Phone Scam In Illinois

5 Tips to Identify the IRS Phone Scam In Illinois

Individuals claiming to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service has been making their rounds calling individuals in every state seeking financial gain and access to pertinent personal information. These phishing scams are becoming common and many individuals are falling victim to the scheme and putting themselves at risk for additional fraud and identity theft. In October 2015, the Illinois Attorney General warned citizens that this latest scam was starting to make its way around the state.

It is easy to fall for the IRS phone scam because the individual on the other and can sound completely credible by using false IRS badge numbers and names. With access to basic information such as the last four digits of your Social Security number, these individuals can convince you to provide additional information which they can use to sell your identity or persuade you into paying nonexistent penalties. The IRS has taken several steps to educating consumers on how to recognize and avoid this scam. Here are five things to watch out for to help you identify whether or not you are receiving a legitimate call.

  1. The IRS never asks for money to be paid over the phone. Any payments made to the Internal Revenue Service should be directed through the website or via mail. There will never be a point at which the Internal Revenue Service asks individuals to make payments over the phone via any method including credit card, prepaid debit, or wire transfer.
  2. The IRS never threatens you for not taking immediate action. A common scare tactic used by these scammers is to threaten the individual with license revocation, suspension of business, or arrest. These are all things that the IRS does not do.
  3. The IRS always notifies taxpayers by mail first. The IRS still relies on the snail mail system. If you owe taxes, you will receive notification via mail before you ever receive a phone call.
  4. The IRS doesn’t involve local police or law-enforcement. Any individual who calls claiming that they will involve local police or law enforcement if you do not make a payment, is not representative of the IRS. Keep in mind that the Internal Revenue Service has the power to garnish your wages or absorb your tax return to pay back taxes. Neither of these steps requires the use of local law enforcement.
  5. The IRS office is quiet and it takes time to connect with a representative. Locations where these phishing scams are set up typically have multiple people calling individuals at one time. If a representative from the IRS were to call you, you would notice that there is no background noise. Hearing extensive noise in the background of your call is a clear indication that you might be on the phone with a scammer. Additionally, if you call the number back and are instantly connected with a representative, then you know the caller is a scammer. The Internal Revenue Service has an extensive prompt system that helps users connect with the right representative. During high-volume times, users may wait anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes before connecting with a representative.

If you believe you may have been contacted by someone from the IRS phone scam, report it to local authorities immediately. You can take additional steps to help others in your area by reporting the phone number which the individual called from on various scam report sites. Additionally, always contact the IRS with any questions regarding past due taxes or problems with your tax return to verify the information before making any type of payment.