Alpena Area Residents getting IRS Scam Telephone Calls

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ALPENA, MI – Residents in the Alpena area have been receiving scam telephone calls concerning IRS issues at an increasing rate.scam-alert

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:

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.