The problem of people posing as IRS employees continues to be in the news. We had one client who received a voicemail from a “Heather Gray” indicating that she was from the IRS. The caller said it was imperative that her call be returned due to a balance of taxes still owed. If her call was not returned, she added, the taxpayer could face being arrested.
Our client did call back but someone else answered the phone. This person did not give her name nor did she answer the phone by saying “Internal Revenue Service.” She just said “Hello.” Our client knew then that it sounded suspicious. She said she could hear noise in the background that sounded like it was some kind of call center. The client finally called us about the incident and we told her it was a scam and to just hang up if called again.
I Googled the phone number that was given to our client. Sure enough, the name Heather Gray popped up. The site I used confirmed that this was a scam and apparently this so-called Heather Gray has been making a lot of these calls. It turns out the phone number is based in Washington, D.C. Please feel free to come up with your own jokes about the location of the calls.
It is important to remember that the IRS does not make calls requesting personal or financial information. If you receive a call from the IRS, ask for the agent’s badge number. Then call 1-800-829-1040 to confirm that number is valid, but don’t reveal personal or financial information. These scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of your Social Security number, but don’t fall for that, either.
Also remember that the IRS does not communicate by email, text, or social media channels. I received an email some time ago, supposedly from the IRS, which I knew was a scam. I have to admit, it did look official, including the IRS emblem. If I hadn’t already known that the IRS does not communicate in such a way, I would have thought it was for real.
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think you owe any taxes, call and report the incident to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. If you have been targeted by this scam, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.
If you are uncertain about whether you owe any taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm your tax status.
Randy McIntyre is a Certified Public Accountant and a partner in McIntyre, Paradis, Wood & Company, CPAs. He has worked in public accounting since 1977, in Wilmington since 1992. His firm is built on a history of service, technical expertise, and innovative to provide the expertise of larger firms with a personal, one-on-one approach. To learn more about McIntyre, Paradis, Wood & Company, see www.mpwcpas.com. He can be reached at [email protected] or 910-793-1181.
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