November 13 2014

IRS Phone Scam - What You Need to Know

By: Rich Hosford

Area police and the Internal Revenue Service is warning people of a new, aggressive, phone scam that makes people believe they are in trouble with authorities. 


According to reports, victims state that they have been contacted by phone by someone claiming to be an agent with the IRS. The caller will tell the potential victim that they owe money to the IRS and that if they do not cooperate, they will be arrested, deported or have their business or driver’s license suspended. The caller tells the resident they must pay immediately through a pre-paid debit card or a wire transfer. 


Police say they would never threaten to arrest or deport someone over unpaid taxes. 


IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said that in most instances the first contact the agency has with a resident who owes taxes is through a letter through the United States Postal Service. He also said the IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone or request payments through pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers. 


“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” he said in a statement on the scam. 


Authorities are calling the scam “sophisticated” because the perpetrators go to great lengths to make the call sound legitimate. Tactics to do so including using fake names and IRS badge numbers, having knowledge of the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number and spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID. Scammers have also sent bogus IRS emails to support the call and have others call the victim pretending to be the local police confirming the threats. They will also call from busy rooms with other people making similar calls in the background to make it sound like they are calling from a call site. 

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