Then you get a letter from the IRS.
A Letter from the IRS
You open the mail one day to a letter from the IRS indicating that you actually owe them a bit of money back. You still earned a refund, but because there was an error in your taxes, you need to pay back a small amount. Let’s say it’s $150. Kind of a bummer, but you still got a refund, so you’re not too worried. Besides, you did your taxes yourself, so it’s entirely possible you missed something. Not a big deal.
You go onto IRS.gov, click the option to pay your taxes and submit the payment. Pretty easy.
A Second Letter from the IRS
Then a second letter comes. They took a closer look at your taxes and you screwed up bigger than you thought. They received your $150 payment, but bad news, you actually owe them $2500. The letter says you need to contact them to setup a payment plan. Man, you really screwed up your taxes, didn’t you.
So you call the number and work with the person on the line to setup a payment plan. You give the person your bank account information and setup the payment plan. You’re definitely frustrated with the situation.
This May Be an IRS Scam
We’re all familiar with the scams where you receive a phone call telling you that you owe money, but getting a letter in the mail seems unusual, doesn’t it? And this one sent you to the IRS website (in fact, you typed in irs.gov, you didn’t click a link). So yes, you did submit that initial payment to the IRS, but the second payment? The payment plan you created? That was giving your information to the scammers. This is definitely a long con, but they got you.
In the cases I’ve heard about, the scammers aren’t pulling more money than you agreed to – they’re just sticking to the payment plan that you setup. The only way to stop them is to contact your bank and likely close your account.
How do you keep yourself safe?
First off, the IRS does not accept payments over the phone. Never give your information over the phone.
If you receive one of these letters, don’t call the number provided. Go to the IRS website and call the number listed there. Only make payments through the official website, never through any other service.
Scammers are getting smarter and smarter. Make sure that you don’t fall for the latest IRS Audit Scam