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The IRS is warning of a new spin on a common scam that is being reported across the country. The scam is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS – an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using Internet or phone).

Scammers claiming to be from the IRS are calling consumers, telling them certified letters sent to the taxpayer in the mail were returned as undeliverable. The scammer threatens arrest if payment is not made through a prepaid debit card and claims that the card is linked to the EFTPS, which is false. The scammer also warns the victim not to contact their tax preparer, attorney, or local IRS officer until the payment is made.

The IRS offers the following advice for taxpayers who receive a call about unpaid taxes:

    • Call to demand immediate payment using payment methods such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
    • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
    • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
    • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • EFTPS is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. It’s also an automated system so a “live” person wouldn’t call you.
  • There’s no requirement for using the EFTPS to pay real estate tax bills. Consumers have several options. Learn more about them here.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think you do, simply hang up and report the call. Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reportingweb page. Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov.
  • If you think you may owe taxes, it’s best to call the IRS yourself. They will help determine if taxes are owed and can assist you in making a payment plan.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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