Private Client Services Alert - August 2017

August 2017

Warning - IRS Impersonation Scams

As the summer heats up, so apparently does the frequency of fraudulent calls by individuals posing as IRS or United States Treasury officials.  This observation is based on our experience here at BDO as we recently noticed an increase in client calls to us regarding this type of activity, and we covered the topic here.

This Client Alert summarizes important information on how to respond in the event you are contacted by someone stating they are from the IRS, United States Treasury or other state or local taxing authority.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a taxing authority,
  1. Request the employee’s name, badge number, and call back number, and record the caller ID information (if available).
  2. Do not provide any personal or financial information to the individual.  The IRS does not request financial account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information.
  3. Do not make any payments.  The IRS or other officials will never demand payments via Western Union, MoneyGram, bank wire transfers, iTunes gift cards, or other gift cards.
  4. If the caller becomes threatening, hang up.
  5. Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at or call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.
  6. Contact your BDO advisor for additional guidance.

If you receive a suspicious email from someone claiming to be from a taxing authority,
  1. Do not reply to the email.
  2. Do not open any attachments.
  3. Do not click on any links contained in the email.
  4. Forward the email to the IRS at [email protected].
  5. Delete the original email.
  6. Contact your BDO advisor for additional guidance.

If you receive a letter, notice, or form via regular mail claiming to be from a taxing authority,
Please send a copy of the letter, notice or form to your BDO advisor for review.  We will then determine the legitimacy of the inquiry and determine what action steps need to be taken. Do not reply with any personal or financial information if you suspect the letter, notice, or form is fraudulent.

Conclusion:  The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone or email to request personal or financial information.  This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.  These are fraudulent inquiries.  Additional information from the IRS on how to protect your personal information is available on the IRS website in the “Taxpayer Guide To Identity Theft” and in IRS Publication 4524, “Security Awareness For Taxpayers.” We would be happy to send you copies of these publications upon request.

It is important to remain vigilant in securing and protecting one’s information.  If you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your BDO advisor.

For more information, please contact one of the following regional practice leaders: 
Joan Holtz
Tax Partner
                     Sharon Berman
Atlantic Regional Leader

Jeff Kane
National Managing Partner
  Mike Campbell
West Regional Leader

Jack Nuckolls
Technical Director
  Marty Cass
Southeast Regional Leader

Brooke Anderson
Central Regional Leader
  Jerry Guillott
Southwest Regional Leader

Chuck Barragato
Northeast Regional Leader
  Traci Kratish
Managing Director