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Wednesday September 20, 2017

Washington News

Washington Hotline

Tax Scam Uses Prepaid Debit Card

While the IRS campaign to stop tax scammers has been partly successful, the fraudsters continue to develop new attacks. The latest scam involves a prepaid debit card that the tax scammer claims is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

The scammer typically calls the victim and claims the IRS has sent two certified letters. The victim is told not to contact his or her tax preparer, attorney or CPA until making the tax payment. If the victim does not buy a prepaid debit card, he or she is threatened with immediate arrest.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen noted, "This is a new twist to an old scam. Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from the IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call."

The EFTPS is an automated method for paying taxes. You may pay taxes on the internet or by phone. EFTPS does not require you to use a debit card, but has multiple options for payments.

The IRS recommends several strategies to protect yourself. Do not give out personal information on the phone. If you suspect a tax scam, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. You also can report to the Federal Trade Commission with the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on ftc.gov. Type "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes on the FTC form.

If you think you owe tax to the IRS, call 800-829-1040 for assistance. The IRS staff will assist you in determining whether you owe any tax.

Published June 16, 2017
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