A new robocall scam has recently surfaced claiming to offer a Tax Compromise Program to those who need it the most.
The scam artists behind the robocalls are posing as tax preparers and are targeting people who owe large amounts of back taxes that could easily be swayed to hand over personal information for what they think is tax relief. Scammers may send out thousands of spam calls to find victims or target specific individuals by searching tax lien notices.
An example of one of the calls has been picked up with the following transcript and is spoken by an interactive voice response.
“This is a notification call about the Tax Compromise Program. Do you still owe $5000 in back taxes? You automatically qualify.”
The fraudulent caller will claim you are automatically ‘qualified’, which is a huge red flag because the legitimate IRS Offer in Compromise (OIC) Program requires a set of eligibility criteria that few will meet. The best option is to hang up. Those who continue the call will be connected to a live agent who will attempt to obtain personal information, likely resulting in identity theft. They may also ask for upfront fees, redirecting the victims’ funds to themselves.
This scam is not to be confused with the IRS OIC Program previously mentioned, which is a legitimate option for those who aren’t able to pay their full tax liabilities and allows individuals to pay less than what they owe in tax debt. Those who are eligible for this program would need to contact the IRS directly themselves. The IRS will not seek out those who need tax debt relief by proactively calling individuals.
The only time the IRS will call an individual is after many attempts of contact through letters. They will not seek out individual who need tax debt relief and they will not automatically qualify anybody. It is best to hang up immediately if you receive a call claiming to be the IRS that is not expected.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, you can report it to your local police, state Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Call-blocking apps, including those powered by TNS Call Guardian®, are also a great resource for reporting and blocking unwanted robocalls. Stay vigilant and share information about scams with others.
John Haraburda is Director of Product Management at TNS with specific responsibility for TNS’ Communications Market identity and Protection Solutions.
Call Guardian is a registered trademark of Transaction Network Services, Inc.