March 23, 2018
As people are working hard to file their taxes before the deadline, criminals are also hard at work trying to steal their money. In a very technology forward society, the classic telephone scam continues to be the most dangerous, especially in tax season.
"Phone scammers are always looking for ways to steal taxpayers' financial and identity information," Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. "If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS or the Comptroller's Office, HANG UP. Don't give them any personal or financial information. These crooks are trying to steal your identity."
Here is how the IRS says these scams work:
- Scammers call taxpayers telling them they owe taxes and face arrest if they don't pay. Sometimes, the first call is a recording asking the taxpayers to call back to clear up a tax matter or face arrest.
- When the taxpayers call back, the scammers often use threatening or hostile language. The thief claims the taxpayers may pay their debts using a gift card or other pre-paid cards or wire-transfers.
- Taxpayers who comply lose their money to the scammers.
Taxpayers should remember that the IRS and the Comptroller's Office DOES NOT:
- Call taxpayers demanding immediate payment using a specific payment method, but will first mail a bill.
- Threaten to have taxpayers arrested for not paying taxes.
- Demand payment without giving the taxpayers an opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS believes they owe.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should: Hang up the phone immediately, without providing any information.
If Maryland taxpayers suspect fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller's Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland.
Calls may also be reported to:
- Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, by visiting the following site and using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form, or by calling 800-366-4484.
- Federal Trade Commission, by completing the form located at FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov, being sure to include "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.