How to tell if a call from the IRS is real — or a scam

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MOBILE, Al (WKRG) —

At some point in time, you may have gotten a scam phone call that sounded like this:

“The reason behind this call is to inform you that we’ve found some serious allegations on your tax filings.”

And if you get that kind of phone call, hang up.

Over and over, you’ve heard us tell you the Internal Revenue Service will never call you — but now, that may be changing.

“A new law passed in 2016, but went into effect this spring allows the IRS to hire up to four private debt collection services that can call you,” said David Smitherman, president at the Alabama Better Business Bureau.

But there are still ways to tell the difference.

If you really owe the IRS money, the IRS is only calling people who have old debts, as in debts they’ve tried to collect in the past but have been unsuccessful.

“But before they do that, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail, saying your debt is being turned over to a collection agency.”

The debt collection agency will also send you a letter saying they will call you to collect the debt.

But don’t be fooled: Scammers are still hoping you’ll fall for their IRS scam.

“If they curse you, if they yell at you, you can pretty much count that’s not a legitimate call,” Smitherman said. “That’s a scam, hang up.”

Often, the scammer will demand you make a payment over the phone with a green dot card or a prepaid debit card.

Those who really owe the IRS money then you should be expecting a call. But if you pay your taxes, and this call comes out of the blue, hang up — it’s a scam.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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