New scam uses Taxpayer Advocate Service numbers

A fresh twist on the well-known IRS-impersonation phone scam now finds criminals faking calls from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS.

As with other IRS-impersonation scams, thieves make unsolicited calls to intended victims fraudulently claiming to be from the tax service, according to a warning issued by the agency. Callers spoof the number of the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service office in Houston or Brooklyn, New York. The communications may be robo-calls that request a call back.

Once the taxpayer returns the call, the con artist requests personal information, including the Social Security number or ITIN.

The TAS does not initiate calls to taxpayers “out of the blue,” the IRS reiterated.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson

In other variations of the scam, fraudsters, often hostile and abusive, demand immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Scammers may also tell would-be victims that they’re due a large refund but must first provide personal information. Other characteristics of these scams include fake names and IRS badge numbers, knowledge of the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number, in addition to the spoofed caller ID. Victims may hear background noise of other calls during the conversation like a telemarketing center. Scammers may also send bogus IRS emails to their victims.

The government is asking taxpayers and tax professionals to report IRS- or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to phishing@irs.gov using the subject line “IRS Phone Scam."

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