As we draw closer to the April 15th filing date, the telephone scam artist is in high gear. Just last week, a client had a message left on his cell phone telling him it was urgent for him to call back, and demanding immediate payment of overdue taxes. I elected to return the call for our client. It was unlike any call I have ever placed to the IRS; there was no long menu option to direct you to the right department. In fact I was not even able to leave a message. What I did hear was a very professional voice stating it was a pressing issue and the agent will call back the next day. Of course the fake agent did not call the client back.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. Not only has the IRS posted multiple warnings on their web site; they have compiled a list of the “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams”. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Completes-the-Dirty-Dozen-Tax-Scams-for-2015
The scammers like to prey on the elderly. Almost all of our clients that have received scam phone calls are receiving either social security or a pension. Today there is unlimited information available on the internet for the unscrupulous person to try to exploit. Please remember, the IRS will first contact you by US Mail. If you receive a notice from the IRS, please forward to us and we will contact the IRS on your behalf.
My previous advice had been to ask the caller for his phone number, name, and badge number. That used to spook the caller and he would hang up. Today’s scammers have gotten sophisticated and will use a fake name and badge ID number. My current advice is HANG UP THE PHONE.
About The Author - John S. Hasmonek, ECS’s newest shareholder through our merger with Ronald J. Borden & Co., received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting with Honors and Highest Distinction from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois in 1976. Mr. Hasmonek is a Certified Public Accountant with over 38 years of accounting and tax experience. His areas of expertise include financial statement compilations, reviews and audits, ERISA audits, financial projections, business and personal tax preparation, management consulting, and personal and corporate tax planning.