Tax officials urge people to look out for potential scams - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Tax officials urge people to look out for potential scams

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Tax time is an easy time for people to try and gain access to your personal information. (Source: MGN) Tax time is an easy time for people to try and gain access to your personal information. (Source: MGN)
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The IRS said folks around the country have been conned out of more than $1 million in what is being called the largest tax scam ever.

IRS officials want people to remember that they will never call and ask for any type of payment over the phone, nor by text, email or social media. Victims of this scam 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 usually threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license.

IRS spokesperson Dan Boone said getting a call out of the blue should be the first red flag – he said a written notice is always the first step. "Typically the IRS usually first sends an official notice through the U.S. Mail," he said.

Some 20,000 people across the country have fallen for this scam, and Boone confirmed they have gotten complaints from people in North Alabama.

Boone said the elderly are not the only targets in this scam; all ages, races and demographics have been approached. Although law enforcement is trying to track down those responsible, technology allows for phone calls to be placed from just about anywhere in the world.

"We're not sure where these scammers are," Boone said. "They may be somewhere overseas. Typically they have foreign accents."

It's also more difficult because these aren't your everyday scammers, according to Boone. "The scammers are more sophisticated than we've seen in the past. They may know the last four digits of your Social Security number; they may know where you work; they may know your address. It catches you off-guard and makes you think that maybe it is the government calling because they already know some things about you," he said.

Boone advised to not be fooled by Caller-ID; he said some scammers will spoof the number to make it seem as if they are calling from the IRS offices' actual number or from Washington DC.

He said if you do get a call, it is important to call the IRS and let them know about it. The number to do so is 1-800-366-4484.

For more tips on avoiding tax-time scams, visit the WAFF Tax Guide.

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