Watch Out for Tax “Help” Scams

There are lots of ’em. Many fly-by-night companies comb the public records for tax liens and then by mail or telephone offer to “help with your debt.” Some do their best to masquerade as the IRS, with official looking mailings or official sounding names.

A call came recently to a war tax resister in New York from a man who said he was an agent from the “Investigation Bureau of the IRS.” The call sounded suspicious from the start (like from an overseas call center; the man began every sentence with an emphatic “Sir”), and the resister asked what state the man was calling from. When he answered “San Francisco” (the 51st state?), the resister asked what football team plays in San Francisco and the reply was “American or National?”

When said IRS “investigator” was asked what would happen if he did not call that 415 number, he said “you will be arrested.” That is unusual talk for the IRS also, so our resister ended the call.

Another war tax resister reported receiving periodic messages from a company that offers to “reduce your tax debt.” She has never talked to anyone, but hitting the button that is supposed to “take you off the list” seems to have no effect. She noted that tax scam calls can be reported to the government by notifying the Treasury Inspector General at 800-366-4484.

If you are unsure a caller is really the IRS, take their number and try searching it on the internet, or call your local IRS office to ask about the number. The IRS would usually give a toll free number, so that might be one clue.

And if it is the IRS and you wonder what to do, feel free to contact a counselor in our network. Here’s a link to a Forbes Magazine piece on this topic also – with lots of detail and links to earlier articles.

Post by Ruth Benn

One thought on “Watch Out for Tax “Help” Scams”

  1. shulamith says:

    To clarify: I began receiving these calls BEFORE I owed any money. The recording said “back taxes” even at that time.

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