The Internal Revenue Service warned
consumers Monday about a sophisticated phone scheme targeting taxpayers,
including recent immigrants, around the U.S.
The ploy works like this: The
caller tells the victim they owe the IRS money and that it must be paid right
away with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the person refuses to
cooperate, they are threatened with
arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license, according
to the IRS. The caller typically gets hostile and insulting.
"This scam has recently hit
taxpayers in the Southeast Region. We
encouraged taxpayers to guard against being misled by unscrupulous individuals
trying to persuade them to give out their social security numbers and personal
financial information. The IRS does not and will not ask for credit card
numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire
transfer," said IRS Spokesman Mark S. Green, in a statement.
The IRS warns that if someone
calling claims to be from the IRS and threatens to arrest you if you don't pay
immediately, that alone is a sign that it is not in face the IRS calling.
The IRS usually first reaches out
to taxpayers about a tax issue by mail.
Other characteristics of this scam include:
Anyone who gets this scamming phone call can take these steps:
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800.829.1040. IRS employees can help with the payment issue.
If you know you don't owe taxes or
have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, report the suspicious phone
call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by going to http://www.treasury.gov/tigta
or calling 800.366.4484. Also contact the Federal Trade
Commission's FTC Complaint Assistant online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov and include "IRS Telephone Scam" in the comments of your complaint.
The IRS urges taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that claim they are from the IRS. The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by email for financial information. The IRS never asks for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Never open email attachments or links in an email that claim to be from the IRS. Forward the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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