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Beware – Looming tax deadline results in sharp uptick of IRS scam callers

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IRS Phone Scam (MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala – The Better Business Bureau in Huntsville took almost 200 calls Friday from consumers who have received calls or messages from people claiming to be from the IRS.

The callers are aggressive. They claim to be employees of the IRS warning you of a lawsuit. They’re not – they’re scam artists.

You may have voice mails from them, or you may have talked to them in person. Please don’t give them any information. Hang up the phone. They’re not worth your time.

The con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. 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.

If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Remember – if the IRS is looking for you – they will mail you an official letter. And more than likely, you will already know about it.

IRS Phone Scam Red Flags:

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

You may also report instances of IRS-related phishing attempts and fraud to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.