ALPENA, MI – Residents in the Alpena area have been receiving scam telephone calls concerning IRS issues at an increasing rate.
Your phone will ring. You answer the call. On the other end you hear a recorded message telling you that you need to contact the IRS by calling them at a phone number that starts out with a 206 area code.
If you are a victim of such telephone calls, you are advised to contact the real IRS at 800-366-4484 immediately. The report will be taken by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of such fraud.
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.
An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These 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.
Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
For more details on these ongoing scams, see:
- Summertime Tax Tip 2015-18, Don’t Fall for New Tax Scam Tricks by IRS Posers
- IR-2015-99, IRS Warns Taxpayers to Guard Against New Tricks by Scam Artists; Losses Top $20 Million
- IR-2015-26, IRS Completes the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2015
- Tax Tip 2015-20, Stay Vigilant Against Bogus IRS Phone Calls and Emails
- IR-2015-05, Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat, Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season
- IR-2014-105, Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Unveils New Video to Warn Taxpayers
- Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-18, Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call
- IR-2014-84, Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways to Spot Suspicious Calls
- IR-2014-81, IRS Repeats Warning about Phone Scams
- Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-17, IRS Updates Phone Scams Warning
- IR-2014-53, IRS Reiterates Warning of Pervasive Telephone Scam
- IR-2014-16, IRS Releases the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2014; Identity Theft, Phone Scams Lead List
- Special Edition Tax Tip 2014-10, IRS Renews Phone Scam Warning
- Special Edition Tax Tip 2013-13, IRS Warns of Phone Scam
- IR-2013-84, IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam
Lastly, you are advised to sit down with any senior citizen in your life who could fall prey to such scams and speak with them about the issue. It is up to all of us to protect the vulnerable.