Receiving a scam IRS survey call is not only annoying but also risky. If you fall for the scammer’s tricks and give your personal information, you can lose your identity to a third party. Some scammers sell your personal data to other criminals. One way that scammers access personal information is to pose as government officials. The scammers claim to be conducting an official survey because such calls give them access to numbers on the Do Not Call list. Some scammers claim to be IRS officials to get personal data.
IRS survey scams have been a problem in the US for a number of years. However, the problem has become worse in the recent past. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) estimates that IRS scammers have stolen about $23million from 4,550 victims. The statistics only cover the period since October 2013.
Many Americans have heard about scammers that pose as IRS officials. However, very few know about the IRS survey scams. The fake survey calls are scammers’ new way of stealing more money and information from unsuspecting Americans.
When scammers call, they claim to work for IRS and are authorized to conduct a survey. They will then proceed to ask for personal information from the receiver before asking the survey questions. For instance, the scammers will ask for the taxpayer identification number, date of birth, and the social security number.
Sharing such data on phone or with strangers is dangerous. Anyone can steal your identity with all this information. You also risk losing money from your financial accounts when you provide such details to strangers.
One of the reasons why criminals pose as government officials is to sound genuine or legitimate to their victims. They can call numbers on Do Not Call list with survey claims. You can protect your identity and accounts from IRS survey scammers in the following ways:
IRS does not call people randomly. You will only get a call from IRS if you contact them or open a case with them.
Do not give your confidential data to anyone over the phone for any reason. All surveys including those by IRS are anonymous. The researcher may ask about your age or consumption patterns but not identifying information.
One sure way to stay away from IRS survey scammers is to avoid phone surveys. If you block all phone surveys, you will protect yourself from illegitimate surveys. It is difficult to determine genuine surveys especially when callers claim to be government officials. The caller may sell your personal information to third parties.
If you get an IRS survey scam call, report the matter to the TIGTA immediately. You can call the agency number 1-800-366-4484 or contact them via their website www.tigta.gov. Alternatively, you can report the scam call to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Complaint Assistant.