Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a Scam Alert to warn New Mexicans about IRS tax scams. Last week, a new tax season started with the IRS accepting 2017 tax returns. Already, consumer advocates at the offices of Attorney General Hector Balderas have noted an uptick in the number of complaints about phony IRS agents who threaten consumers with jail time for phony tax debts.
“The IRS does not call you and does not email you about tax debts,” Attorney General Balderas warned. “The IRS gives formal written notice through postal mail to persons it identifies as having tax consequences. Anyone who calls or emails you pretending to represent the IRS is likely a crook and a thief. This is so even if they offer you their ‘IRS badge number’, even if their caller I.D. has an ‘IRS’ in the identification block, and even if they send emails that look like real IRS correspondence.”
IRS scam callers may threaten you for non-payment. They often demand that you give them a credit or debit card, wire them money or purchase a prepaid debit card right away in order to avoid immediate arrest or deportation. This is a sure sign they are out to cheat you.
If you are worried that the IRS thinks you owe money on your taxes, call the IRS yourself at 800-829-1040 or go to the IRS website yourself at irs.gov to check.
The Attorney General is providing a list of contacts for people who want to take action to help stop these IRS scam calls or emails:
- Call and report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA):An online reporting form for use when there has been no financial loss is available at: treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml. TIGTA hotline: 800-366-4484. TIFTA afterhours hotline: 800-589-3718. Get more information from TIGTA YouTube videos on IRS Imposter Scams (7 videos) at youtube.com/channel/UC4dSU0BElmzA_o7atb929AA.
- Forward phony IRS emails to firstname.lastname@example.org (and make sure you don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those emails);
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint and Include “IRS Telephone Scam” the subject line of your complaint.
- Report the calls or emails at IRS “Report Phishing and Online Scams” page at irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing
The Office of Attorney General Hector Balderas offers advocates to help consumers who encounter scams, faulty products and broken promises. The Attorney General advises those who need help to fill out a consumer complaint form on his website at nmag.gov or to call 717-3500 in Albuquerque or 490-4060 in Santa Fe and toll-free statewide 1-844-255-9210.