Beware of Telephone Scammers Impersonating Police and Tax Collectors!

The Board of Equalization (BOE) has recently received reports of threatening scam attempts to fraudulently collect alleged tax debts. The BOE investigates all reported scam attempts.

Taxpayers typically receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government official. The caller demands immediate payment for a tax liability and threatens the taxpayer with arrest. In some cases, the caller has personal identifying information about the taxpayer or claims to know details about a taxpayer’s tax liability. In some cases, the caller provides the taxpayer with a fake badge number and a contact number for a local police department. Callers have also spoofed police department or BOE telephone numbers on caller ID, creating the appearance that a legitimate party is calling.

These cases appear related to scams where callers impersonate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS scams typically involve demands to pay using pre-pay debit cards or wire transfers.

BOE Taxpayers who receive similar scam telephone calls should be advised:

  • Do not make any payment or provide confidential information
  • Contact local law enforcement, particularly if there is a loss or the caller makes a threat to harm.
  • You can confirm the call was from a BOE employee and/or report the call details of a possible telephone scam by calling our BOE Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115.
  • If you believe identity theft has occurred, please visit the California Office of Attorney General website for more information.

Federal IRS-Related Scam Information

The IRS website lists a description and advice regarding the scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also provides consumer information on the scam. The FTC provides both telephone numbers and websites to report the incidents.

The IRS reminds people that they can identify when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.