If you have a Notice of Federal Tax Lien filed against you, one rather annoying nuisance is the amount of junk mail that you get from people all over the country who promise to make your life better. In some of this junk mail, they pretend to be the IRS. Junk mail is easy to throw away, but what about if you get a call from someone pretending to be the IRS? Do you know what to do and how to figure out if they are an IRS scam company or not?
Unfortunately, sometimes it can be difficult to tell who is really shady over the phone.
This IRS scam company post all started from an email I received yesterday from one of our attorneys:
"So, there is a new, or maybe not new, IRS scam company out in the world. Our client got a call to his business from someone claiming to be with the IRS, named "Robert Williams". I figured it was one of those sales places and that his staff member who took the call just misunderstood, as some of them are very misleading. But, I called just in case it was a Revenue Officer.
When I called, the person who answered was a male individual who did not have the same name as the person who called. He stated that he was with the Internal Revenue Service and gave me his "EED", which I assume was supposed to be his "employee ID" or "badge number". I asked him what department he was with. He stated, "I am with the Internal Revenue Service." "No, what DEPARTMENT are you in?" He replied; "the Investigation Department." I informed him that I was returning a call because my client had received unauthorized direct contact in violation of the power of attorney I had on file. The response was "well you're not actually an attorney." I responded, "actually I am." "Well then give me your DRD number." So I asked, "what is a DRD number, the IRS uses CAF numbers." He stated, "see, you're not actually an attorney" and hung up. When I tried to call back a couple of minutes later, my call was blocked.
Apparently, the phone number to call back, 415-413-3834, has quite a few complaints on it that are very similar. Some people are also reporting that the people posing as the IRS are also threatening arrest and calling people without any back taxes due.
Along with Robert Williams (who curiously has an Indian accent), there appear to be other IRS "employees" calling from this number:
- Michael Carter
- David Green
- Jason Martin
- Sean Marsh
How to tell if you are dealing with an IRS scam company pretending to be the IRS
The IRS Automated Collections System (ACS) — where the IRS does the bulk of its smaller dollar collections does not initiate phone calls (or emails). They send you a notice in the mail and typically ask you to call or write back. *Update March, 2017: The IRS will begin using 3rd party companies to collect on some tax debts; and these companies will call you! Talk about confusing….
If you are under tax audit, the IRS does not call you to inform you. They send you a notice informing you that you have been selected for an examination. The IRS does not call you to inform you that you will be arrested. They will come with their gold badges, and they may not knock. Also, it is not a crime to simply owe taxes. The collections agencies of the IRS have no authority to threaten arrest for an unpaid tax bill. All they can do is send a "referral" to the IRS Criminal Investigations Unit.
There are very limited times the IRS will call you directly. This is one of the only times we can think of:
- If you have a big tax problem and are assigned a Revenue Officer, the Revenue Officer must attempt "first contact" in person. One of the reasons the IRS will show up in person is so that you know it is NOT a scam. If you aren't home, he or she will leave a card and then will also send you a letter. If, however, the Revenue Officer cannot find your home or your work, the Revenue Officer may attempt a phone call, if he or she happens to have your phone number. However, the Revenue Officer will be calling from a local field office. Not a 415 area code in the Bay Area (well, unless you happen to live in the Bay Area).
An IRS employee should always give you their badge number, and if they are collecting a debt will ask you if you are familiar with Publication 1. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn't always follow its own rules, and thus a taxpayer must be hyper-vigilant in trying to figure out who is real and who is running an IRS scam company .
If you're having a tax issue that you need assistance with, contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We're here to help.
The scams calls have not stopped. And worse, as part of the Path Act of 2015, the IRS is required to send out delinquent tax debts to collection agencies. This idea was tried before and failed. On of the things I recall was getting a call from a collection agency for a client I represented. At first I thought the call was a scam. But it was not. It was actually the authorized collection agency assigned to my clients case.
So my question is, how are taxpayers and representatives to know that a call from a collection agency may be legitimate?
This is a bad idea.