Comptroller Franchot and IRS: Don’t Fall Victim to Phone Scammers

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 22, 2018) - As taxpayers work to file their taxes, criminals are also hard at work — attempting to steal their money. While there are several versions of tax scams, the classic telephone con continues to thrive, especially during filing season.

“Phone scammers are always looking for ways to steal taxpayers’ financial and identity information,” says Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. “If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS or the Comptroller’s Office, hang up. Don’t give them any personal or financial information. These are crooks trying to steal your identity.”

As a reminder, here’s how IRS says the scams work:

  • Scammers call taxpayers telling them they owe taxes and face arrest if they don’t pay. Sometimes, the first call is a recording, asking taxpayers to call back to clear up a tax matter or face arrest.
  • When taxpayers call back, the scammers often use threatening and hostile language. The thief claims the taxpayers may pay their debts using a gift card, other pre-paid cards or wire transfers.
  • Taxpayers who comply lose their money to the scammers.

Taxpayers should remember that the IRS and the Comptroller’s Office does not:

  • Call taxpayers demanding immediate payment using a specific payment method, but will first mail a bill.
  • Threaten to have taxpayers arrested for not paying taxes.
  • Demand payment without giving taxpayers an opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS believes they owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Taxpayers who receive these phone calls should:
  • Hang up the phone immediately, without providing any information.

If Maryland taxpayers suspect fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or taxhelp@comp.state.md.us.

Calls also may be reported to:

Federal Trade Commission, using the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov, being sure to include “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.