IRS warning about potential phone scams - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

IRS warning about potential phone scams

(Source: MGN Online) (Source: MGN Online)

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration say they are continuing to hear from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls where individuals, who claim to be from the IRS, demand payments.

To date the IRS says they have received 90,000 complaints and has identified approximately 1,100 of those victims to have lost $5 million from these scams.

Officials say it's important for taxpayers to know that the IRS will never ask for credit card, debut card or prepaid card information over the telephone. Also they will never insist that taxpayers should use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations or ask for payment over the telephone. 

"There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact TIGTA or the IRS."

During these scam situations potential victims may be told that they owe money and that the money must be paid immediately. They also may be told that they are entitled to big refunds.

Other scam characteristics 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 or someone you know thinks they may be getting these calls, the IRS says you should call 1-800-829-1040. There are IRS employees at that line that can help with payment issues and these calls.

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