As we’re nearing the end of tax season, phone scammers may be increasing their activities to try to bilk people out of money by pretending to be representatives of the IRS. This is an increasingly popular tactic used by scammers and it’s a good idea to reacquaint yourself with the basic details of the scam to avoid panic if you receive such a call. At the end of March, Realtor Magazine published an informative article penned by Realtor Leanne Goff sharing her personal experience with an IRS phone scam. Her retelling of the situation is detailed and shares the gripping emotions of the moment. She was caught off guard by the caller, who phoned during the middle of a work day, and was quickly drawn in by the elaborate script the caller followed to a T. Thankfully she had a moment of clarity when she was put on hold, and she was able to conference in her accountant to the phone call.
The article is an important reminder that the IRS will not call you on the phone to let you know of a problem with your taxes; an IRS representative would never call you and demand payment for back taxes and penalties. Goff mentions that she has heard all this before. However in the heat of the moment as she was going through her work day, along with the flawless execution of the phone caller who had just enough details about her that were correct, created an immensely emotional situation that almost resulted in Goff falling victim to the scam.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, please take a moment to catch your breath and try to deescalate the stressful emotions generated by the call. That will help you to gain some clarity and hopefully remember the IRS does not call citizens about back taxes. Do not engage the caller – hang up and report the call to your local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency phone number. Here on Mercer Island, that number is (425) 577-5656.