The IRS is kicking off the Dirty Dozen tax scams campaign for 2015 this week with pervasive phone scam and phishing the first of 12 alerts for taxpayers.
Also, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the agency has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of these scams. They involve individuals making unsolicited calls to taxpayers, fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send cash via prepaid debit cards.
Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season.
The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail."
"Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business," he added.
The IRS also warned taxpayers to watch out for fake emails or websites looking to steal personal information. These "phishing" schemes continue to be on the annual IRS list of "Dirty Dozen" tax scams for the 2015 filing season.
"The IRS won't send you an email about a bill or refund out of the blue," Koskinen said. "Don't click on one claiming to be from the IRS that takes you by surprise."
"I urge taxpayers to be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites," he added. "They may be scams to steal your personal information."
Compiled annually, the "Dirty Dozen" lists a variety of common scams that taxpayers may encounter anytime, but many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or find people to help with their taxes.