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Monday, August 4, 2014

IRS warns Taxpayers of Pervasive Telephone Scam


The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about a sophisticated
phone scam targeting taxpayers throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly
through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses
to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or
suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller
becomes hostile and insulting.

"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We
want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest
assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the
phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," says IRS
Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. "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."

Other characteristics of this scam include:

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use
common names and surnames to identify themselves.
Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's
Social Security Number.
Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it
appear that it's the IRS calling.
Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to
support their bogus calls.
Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to
mimic a call site.
After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license
revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be
from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS,
here's what you should do:

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call
the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you
with a payment issue--if there really is such an issue.


If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that
you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the
caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the
incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at
1.800.366.4484.
If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the
Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at
FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your
complaint.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as
a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that
fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

We encourage taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams
that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with
taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This
includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages
and social media channels. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a
tax issue generally occurs via mail.

The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential
access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links
contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to
phishing@irs.gov.

If you think you've been scammed, please call us right away. For more
information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS, visit
the genuine IRS website: IRS.gov.

 Barry Eisenberg, SCORE Counselor




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