There is a new scam going around – someone purporting to be from the IRS calls you and says he or she is conducting a survey by phone and asks for your personal details. The survey is supposedly to get information on your experience with the IRS. If you receive a phone call like that, do not respond. The best thing to do is to hang up.
Just recently someone received a phone call while at home from a man who said he was from the IRS saying he was conducting a survey on people’s experiences with the IRS. The man asked for some personal details but the call seemed phony because the caller’s identification number said “Unknown Number” and other voices were heard in the background during the call.
The IRS has confirmed that they do not conduct surveys over the phone. IRS spokesman Dan Boone said, “If you had recently visited one of our offices, we may have asked you to fill out a survey before you left that office. But we don’t do surveys by phone.” Boone has reported the scam to the IRS but admitted it would be a difficult task finding the scammers as the telephone number used by them was unknown. Boone went on to comment, “I hate to hear this is happening. Unfortunately, there are people who will give out their personal information.”
The IRS has advised people not to release their personal information over the phone, through the Internet or via post unless they initiated the correspondence with the IRS. The agency has been spreading the warning on this and other such scams by setting up a dedicated section in its website, www.irs.gov that includes YouTube videos, tips for the taxpaying public and a special guide for help. You will find tips that advise you on what to do if you come across a phishing scheme and how to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit.
A phishing scheme is a fraudulent attempt to obtain personal information that may include your Social Security, bank or credit card numbers. The scheme may come in the form of a phone call, an email or letter by post and may seem every convincing with logos and other such identifying traits that appear to be from the IRS. Once your personal details are released, they are used to steal your tax refund, deposits in the bank, claim tax benefits or use your credit card. This is how identity thieves work.
Taxpayers discover their identities have been stolen when they submit their tax returns and are rejected by the IRS because an earlier return bearing their name and Social Security number has been filed. Either that, or IRS records may show salary from an employer the taxpayer has not worked for. If the IRS notifies you your identity has been stolen, they would tell you what to do in their notice. Follow their instructions. If you suspect your have become a victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation. Do not respond to the suspicious email, phone call or letter and do not click on any link therein.