IRS warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for a summertime scam

At this time of the year, the last thing on the minds of most people is their taxes. This makes perfect sense when you consider that Tax Day 2018 is still so far away and there are so many warm weather activities to enjoy.

While slowing things down during the summer makes sense, the Internal Revenue Service is once again reminding taxpayers that con artists are inclined to do no such thing. Indeed, the agency is now warning about "a new twist to an old scam."

According to a recent agency publication, scammers, posing as IRS agents, are calling unsuspecting consumers to inform them that at least two certified letters mailed to them about a tax debt owed have been returned as undeliverable.

From there, they proceed to threaten arrest unless the consumer makes the requested payment via a prepaid debit card, which they falsely claim is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. They also warn victims to refrain from contacting attorneys, tax preparers or the local IRS office until the necessary tax payment is remitted.

For those unfamiliar with the EFTPS, it's an automated system run by the U.S. Treasury Department that allows taxpayers to pay their federal taxes either over the internet or phone via the EFTPS Voice Response System. It does not make calls to taxpayers and does not use prepaid credit cards in any capacity.

"Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call."

As a reminder, consumers should always be aware that the IRS will never do any of the following:

  • Threaten arrest for failure to pay taxes
  • Request debit or credit card numbers over the phone
  • Make calls demanding immediate payment be made via wire transfer, gift card or prepaid debit card
  • Deny consumers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount of taxes owed before paying
  • Use texts, emails or other social media outlets to discuss pressing personal tax matters

Here's hoping that the word gets out about this scam so that taxpayers don't see their summer ruined by these scofflaws ...

If you have concerns about a tax debt or questions about another tax-related issue, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can examine your situation, outline your options and pursue the necessary solutions.

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