Hello, This is the IRS Calling (Not Really!)
in Compliance & Regulatory
By: Nicola Foggie, NJCUL Senior Vice President, Compliance and Regulatory Affairs

We’ve all gotten one of these calls. You answer your phone, or are listening to a voice mail message, and you hear “This is the IRS calling and we are filing a lawsuit against you for back taxes, unless you…” They may pressure you to give up your credit card or bank information so you can pay your debt immediately. They may even threaten to arrest or deport you. If this happens to you, what do you do?

Credit unions can help by educating their members on how to avoid falling a victim to the “IRS” or other scams. In 2015, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) launched a Fraud Prevention Center that can be accessed at www.MyCreditUnion.gov. The site helps credit unions educate members and provides access to information and resource on a host of topics such as Frauds and Scams, Identity Theft, Online Security, etc. 

Other federal agencies are hard at work in fraud prevention as well. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently worked with the AARP to create a series of videos about imposter scams. The videos include examples of IRS imposters, Medicare scams, and robocalls. Last week, the FTC highlighted Medicare scams; this week, it’s IRS imposters. Next week, the agency focuses on robocalls.

In the video, you’ll hear how these calls may sound – and then learn to spot and avoid these scammers. So, if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some tips:

  • Hang up. Don’t give personal or financial information to someone claiming to be from the IRS. If in doubt, call the IRS directly at 1-800-428-1040.
  • Don’t send money by wire transfer, prepaid card or gift card to someone claiming to be from the IRS. That’s a scam. The IRS will not require a specific type of payment.
  • Report the call. Report phony IRS calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at tigta.gov or to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The more we hear from you, the more we can help fight scams.
  • Tell your community. Let your family and friends know about IRS imposters.

For more information about stopping imposter scams, visit ftc.gov/imposters. And to learn about how to stop unwanted calls, including using call blocking technology, go to ftc.gov/calls.