Scam Week--The IRS Scam - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/28/06

Scam Week--The IRS Scam

Have you done your taxes yet? If not, beware of people pretending to be the IRS. Once again, this scam starts with a phone call. This time, it's someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service.

They try getting you to believe you owe the government money. You can pay over the phone; just give them your bank account info. One Savannah woman blew the whistle on the IRS scam.

"I was like, this doesn't sound right to me," Monique King told us of a call she received around 7:30pm on Presidents Day. "She said she was with the IRS and I owed over $142 in back taxes."

"When you state it's the IRS, everybody is scared," said King. "I don't want to owe taxes."

Then the caller asked King  for her birthdate, address, and social security number. "I stated, 'If you are the IRS, you should already know that. The young lady got a little hasty with me and was like, 'You all make my job hard.' And I says, 'I'm sorry, but I am not giving my social security number out over the phone.' She slammed the phone on me."

King knew right there it wasn't the IRS. "They send letters," she said. "That's what I told her on the phone. 'Send me the information. If I owe you $142, I'll send it to you."

"The IRS won't call you to say, 'We owe you or you us,'"  noted Better Business Bureau Southeast District president Ross Howard.

He says it's a new twist on the same old identity theft scam. "If you haven't filed your taxes, there is no way possible they know how much you owe until you file."

"I haven't filed my taxes, they're right here," said King. "You're the IRS, you should know if I filed my taxes."

Then, common sense kicked in. "It's Presidents Day, a federal holiday. Why would she be calling me at 7:30 at night?"

King called the scammer's bluff. She wants others to be wise to the IRS scam. "The IRS does know all of your info," she said. "If they want to get ahold of you, they can get in contact at my job, wherever. They wouldn't call at 7:30 at night."

And it's not just on the phone, but the internet too. You might see pop-ups which look like they are linked to the IRS. They are not. Don't be fooled.

Tomorrow night, the Las Vegas award program scam. They say you won millions of dollars, but you need to send money to Florida.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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