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Fake IRS and MN Revenue Scams

November 20, 2014 by Andy Graf
Copeland Buhl

Beware of scam calls and emails claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Treasury or Minnesota Department of Revenue

The IRS and MN Revenue are warning taxpayers of two specific scams to be on the lookout for. One involves email, and the other consists of con artists calling claiming to be representatives of the IRS or MN Revenue.  Below is a list of items to be aware of when it comes these scams. 

IRS and MN Revenue – Impersonation Telephone Scam

Callers claim to be employees of the IRS or MN Revenue, but they are not. They sound very convincing and even give fake badge numbers. They know a lot about their targets, and usually alter their caller ID to make it look like the calls are actually coming from the IRS or MN Revenue.

If you are subject to one of these calls, you may be told you owe money or the callers may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. They may demand to be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card, wire transfer, or credit card payment.  If you refuse to cooperate, you are then threatened with arrest. The caller may make claims that local law enforcement officials will arrive at your home in a short amount of time with an arrest warrant.

In some other instances scammers will leave an “urgent” callback message if the phone isn’t answered.

Remember, the IRS and MN Revenue will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will they call about taxes without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you receive a call asking for any of this information or making any of these claims, it is a scam!

Email Phishing Scam:

These emails appear to be from the IRS and include a link to a fake web site intended to look like an official IRS web site.  The emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.”  The emails mention “USA.gov” and “IRSgov” (without a dot between “IRS” and “gov”).  These emails are not from the IRS.

If you receive one of these calls or emails you should do the following:

  • Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov
  • You can also forward the scam emails to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.  Do not respond to the email or click on the links.

If you are concerned about a potentially fraudulent contact from MN Revenue, please contact: 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094.  An authorized MN Revenue staff will be able to determine if the contact you received was legitimate.

Remember, the IRS will not initiate contact via an email or a phone call. They may use these methods after they have first established contact with you through a letter, but their first action is always sending a letter or notice in the mail. MN Revenue may initiate contact via a phone call, but never through unsolicited emails.

If you have any questions regarding phone calls or emails from the IRS please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Andy Graf

Andy_graf@copelandbuhl.com

 

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