IRS phone scams reportedly ramping up

This Aug. 21, 2014, file photo shows health care tax forms 8962, 1095-A and 8965 in Washington.

For the second time this year, authorities are warning residents of scammers calling, claiming to be with the IRS, and demanding immediate payment of a tax debt.

There were a number of reported phony phone calls a little less than two weeks before the tax filing deadline earlier this year and several people have reported more in the past few days.

Scammers use fake names, provide bogus IRS badge numbers and alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. If they demand immediate payment, leave urgent callback requests, and threaten arrest, deportation, license revocation and other threats, it’s a scam.

The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, nor call about taxes owed without first mailing a bill; ask for payment without giving taxpayers an opportunity to appeal; ask for a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card; ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement agencies to make an arrest for not paying.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss a personal tax issue involving bills or refunds.

If a taxpayer does not owe taxes or has no reason to believe he or she does, and receives a call, report the incident by calling 1-800-366-4484 or report it online at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting Page.

People can also call the Federal Trade Commission and use its FTC Complaint Assistant at FTC.gov. If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If a taxpayer owes or thinks he or she owes taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help with a payment issue.

For more information, go to IRS.gov and type “scam” in the search box.