IRS Robocall Scammers Are Not Backing Down—Here Is What You Need to Do!
Robocall scams are increasing in number each year. Over three billion robocalls have been placed across the United States in May 2020, according to YouMail. Every second, more than one thousand spam calls are plaguing American citizens, and one of the most common ones is the IRS robocall scam.
Over the years, IRS robocalls have rebooted multiple times, growing more dangerous with each new incarnation. It is not without reason that it has been crowned as the most notorious robocall scam of all time.
Does the IRS Make Robocalls?
One thing you should know about the IRS is that it is not particularly modern. The IRS communicates with taxpayers not via social media, nor phone and email, but via U.S. Mail.
The mere fact that you are receiving a call from the IRS is a reliable telltale sign that you are dealing with fake IRS calls!
Other Signs of Scam IRS Robocalls
Robocalls from the IRS are among the most dangerous ones out there due to their aggressive approach. Primarily, they are targeting the elderly, as well as immigrants and other groups whose native language is not English because they are more likely to get intimidated by government threats.
To instill fear in their victims, IRS scammers threaten to issue arrest warrants if alleged overdue tax bills are not paid immediately.
If you manage to weather the initial storm of the call, it becomes fairly simple to figure out whether you are dealing with a scam or not.
The IRS would never:
- Call a taxpayer regarding an unexpected refund
- Threaten to arrest someone for not paying their bills in time
- Request credit or debit card information over the phone
- Require immediate payment without allowing the taxpayer to appeal the owed amount
- Demand payments through specific methods such as prepaid cards, wire transfer, or gift cards
How to Stop the Robocalls From the IRS
Stopping IRS robocalls has to be a collective effort. That is why you should report the robocall as soon as you get one. Upon receiving an IRS robocall, all taxpayers who do not owe taxes should immediately:
- Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and report the call. You can do this by visiting the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage or by calling 800-366-4484
- Report the call to the FTC (Federal Trading Commission) through the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Make sure to add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes section.
- Report the fake IRS call to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put IRS Phone Scam as the subject of the email
- Hang up the phone immediately, as prolonging the conversation can prompt more robocalls in the future
The Perfect Time for the Tax Allegation Robocall
IRS robocalls are placed all year round. However, it would be wise to up your vigilance during tax season. In 2018, almost 143 million robocalls were placed on April 17, which is the tax-filing deadline! According to Transaction Network Services’ data, the tax day showed the highest number of robocalls placed in a single day in 2018!
What do IRS Robocall Scams Sound Like
IRS scam robocalls have appeared in many different versions over the years. In 2019, a new type of Social Security Number scam started making rounds across the country, threatening to delete victims’ SSN if they fail to pay their alleged tax bills.
Other scams offer free tax help in exchange for paying your bills directly through them. To help you understand what these robocalls sound like, here is an IRS scam transcript provided by Nomorobo:
“You have not paid your IRS taxes in years. You have been authorized to receive free tax help to avoid garnishment of your paycheck and bank accounts. No credit card is needed; I repeat, free tax help, and no credit card is needed. Please hold. Thank you so much for holding, your friend, the representative is ready to accept the call. Please press one to be connected; I repeat, please press one to be connected to your representative or press 7 to be removed from this list.”
Robocalls Cannot Be Legal, Can They?
Thanks to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), legal businesses cannot use automated calls to contact their customers without receiving permission to do so.
While robocalls tend to be annoying, they can be put to good use, and not all of them are deemed illegal.
Robocalls can be useful for:
- Politicians during their campaigns
- Charities collecting donations through robocalls
- Schools that need to alert and remind parents of upcoming events or possible emergencies
- Weather stations that need to alert communities of upcoming blizzards, tornadoes, etc.
What Makes a Robocall Legal?
Companies and telemarketers need to adhere to strict rules set forth by the FTC and the FCC to be able to place a legal robocall. To name but a few rules:
- All calls have to be made between eight am and nine pm
- Callers need to provide proper identification
- Customers have to be offered an option to stop receiving the company’s calls
- People whose numbers are on the National Do Not Call list cannot be contacted without their permission
- Express written consents are mandatory
Callers Need to Reveal Their Identity
If you receive a robocall and the person on the other side of the call fails to provide proper identification, you should probably hang up.
At the beginning of the call, the caller must:
- Reveal his or her identity
- Reveal the identity of the company on whose behalf they are placing the call
Before the call ends, the caller must also:
- Leave you with the company’s phone number
- Leave you with the company’s address
You Have the Right to Opt-Out
Even if you agreed to receive marketing calls from a certain company, they are still legally obliged to provide you with the option to opt-out of their calls.
If the company is placing pre-recorded messages, they should allow you to press a certain number and place your number on the company’s do not call list.
If you are dealing with a voicemail, it has to provide you with a toll-free call-back number that you can dial and pull out of the company’s marketing calls.
FTC’s Do Not Call List Is More Important Than You Think
If you are wondering how to stop robocalls placed by legal businesses, the FTC has a solution for you. The National Do Not Call Registry has been active since 2003, and its purpose is to protect people from spam calls coming from annoying telemarketers.
While legal businesses will abide by this rule, malicious scammers already engaged in illegal activities will probably not.
To report a robocall to FTC, you have to:
- Access FTC’s Do Not Call website
- Select Report Unwanted Calls
- Provide information regarding the unwanted call you received
- Submit your request
You can read our in-depth article for answers on how to check if a number is on the Do Not Call list.
Your Consent Means Everything
Another way to fight back against robocalls is to revoke your consent from companies whose automated calls have started to bother you.
Express written consents are defined by the E-SIGN Act, and they come in multiple forms. Electronic signatures are among the most common ones, but checkboxes on online forms also qualify as express written consents!
Sue Robocall Scammers for Up to $3,000 With DoNotPay
While we are not in the business of tooting our own horn, DoNotPay is the only digital assistant that can help you track down robocallers and sue them for up to $3,000 in court settlements!
With our new Robocall Revenge feature, we can even help you put a stop to annoying spam or scam calls!
Here is how DoNotPay deals with scam callers:
- You receive a malicious robocall
- The scammer tries to steal your money or personal information
- You open DoNotPay and select Robo Revenge
- Our app generates a free virtual credit card for you
- You share the fake credit card details with the fraudster
- We track them down based on the transaction details
- DoNotPay helps you write a dispute letter and file a claim against the scammer
DoNotPay’s Free Trial Card Makes a Difference
There are two reasons why we use a virtual credit card:
- Virtual credit cards work wonders when it comes to personal information security
- Virtual credit cards allow us to track down domestic scammers based on the transaction details when they try to charge your virtual account
For the time being, DoNotPay can only help you sue domestic scammers. It is impossible to acquire the address of an overseas robocaller, and location information is mandatory for filing a robocall lawsuit.
Top Robocall Blocking Apps
If you are on the lookout for a robocall blocker, you are in for a treat. Most major phone carriers and third-party apps offer these types of services to their customers for reasonable monthly fees. If you do not want to install yet another app on your smartphone, you can always check out the FTC guide to robocalls and learn what you can do about robocalls on your own.
The IRS Robocall Is Not Your Only Concern
Fake IRS robocalls pose a great security risk, but there are many other robocall scams making rounds across the country that are almost equally as dangerous as the IRS scam:
How to Figure It Out
Google SEO scam
|Google SEO scams usually prey on small business owners. Because of how important internet marketing is for all businesses, these scammers threaten to wipe their victims’ Google listings if they refuse to pay alleged SEO fees. If you receive a call like this, rest assured that you are dealing with a scam. Google addressed this issue and claimed that they do not use automated calls to contact their users!|
Government Grants scam
|Many Americans have fallen victim to the notorious Government Grants scam. These scammers call their victims and claim that they have become eligible for free government money. The only thing that is required from the victim is a one-time payment for processing fees. The government would never ask you for up-front payments or processing fees. If you become eligible for a government grant, the process of getting the money would not cost you a single penny.|
Social Security Administration scam
|There were many Social Security Administration scams in the past, and they usually targeted the elderly. The new Social Security Administration scam knows no boundaries, and it has no preferred targets. Victims are threatened that their SSNs will be deleted if they do not pay their alleged tax bills. Like with IRS scams, the government would never communicate with its taxpayers over the phone in such an aggressive and threatening fashion.|
Block Robocall Numbers With Your Smartphone
All newer generation Android and iOS devices come with built-in number blocking features. While these features can come in handy with legal spam callers, they will not make a difference with fraudsters, since they tend to change their numbers regularly.
Blocking Numbers on iOS Devices
If you are using an iOS device, you have the option to block a specific number or silence all unknown callers. To do the latter, you have to have a device with iOS 13 or higher.
To block a number on an iOS device, you must:
- Open the Phone app
- Select Recents
- Tap the info icon next to the number you want to block
- Select Block this Caller
- Tap on Block Contact
To silence all unknown callers, you have to:
- Open Settings
- Select Phone
- Turn on the Silence Unknown Callers switch
Blocking Numbers on Android Devices
Android users have the option to block certain numbers or all unidentified numbers. To block a number on an Android device, you need to:
- Open the Phone app
- Tap on Recent Calls
- Tap the number and select Block or Report as Spam
- Confirm that you want to block the number
To block all unidentified numbers, you have to:
- Open the Phone app
- Select Settings
- Turn on the Block Unidentified Numbers switch
Blocking Numbers on a Landline
Depending on which type of technology your landline uses, the process of blocking robocalls is vastly different.
Newer generation landlines that use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services can use third-party apps such as Nomorobo to block scam numbers.
Nomorobo is free of charge for VoIP landlines, and it relies on the so-called “simultaneous ring” technology. Each time your phone rings, Nomorobo gets the call as well. If the app picks up the call first and establishes that it is a scam robocall, your phone will not ring the second time.
In case you are using an old-school copper wire landline, your only solution is to purchase an expensive piece of number blocking hardware. These devices, apart from being costly, come preloaded with a set of scam numbers that cannot be expanded.
These devices screen out scam numbers, but the problem lies in the fact that scammers change numbers frequently, and that impacts the overall usefulness of these types of hardware.
Make Your Life Comfortable With DoNotPay
DoNotPay is in the business of making your life hassle-free. We are proud of the fact that we have created the world’s first robot lawyer that can help you sort out a number of issues in a matter of minutes. Open DoNotPay through a web browser or by downloading the iOS app and discover what it feels like to live a stress-free life! Our app can help you:
- Deal with bills you are unable to pay for
- Fight speeding tickets
- Get revenge on other robocalls
- Contest parking tickets
- Schedule a DMV appointment fast and easy
- Cancel subscriptions or memberships
- Dealing with credit card issues
- Sue people and companies in small claims court
- Dispute traffic tickets
- Jump the phone queue when getting in touch with customer service reps
- Get refunds for delayed or canceled flights