The Internal Revenue Service is encouraging taxpayers to guard against being misled by unscrupulous individuals trying to collect money to settle bogus IRS tax liens. The latest scam, which comes through the mail and looks official, purports to be an IRS Notice of Tax Lien.
The fake notice includes a toll-free telephone number that does not connect to the IRS. The scam requests money to settle unpaid back taxes to avoid IRS enforcement action.
The scam which surfaced in North Georgia, generally targets unsuspecting taxpayers, such as the elderly or students, who normally do not have a filing requirement and who do not really owe the IRS the amount claimed in the fake notice. These schemes can be quite costly for victims as promoters have requested exorbitant amounts to settle bogus tax lien claims. Some promoters of this scheme have charged victims $5,000 or more.
“Con artists shamelessly take advantage of people. Individuals should be on-guard for these scams, and safeguard their social security numbers and personal financial information,” said IRS spokesperson Mark S. Green. “Be very careful of whom you trust for tax advice and of whom you trust with your money and your personal information,” said Green.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text, and social media- electronic communications to request personal or financial information. Individuals who receive an unexpected tax bill from the IRS, even if it comes in the regular mail, should verify its validity before sending money to settle the alleged debt.
All taxpayers, including those who use paid tax preparers, who have questions regarding a federal tax lien, as well as advice on collection payment options, should contact the IRS toll-free number at 1-800-829-1040 or visit the IRS.gov website, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information about other common tax scams is also available on IRS.gov using the keyword “scam” in the search window.