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February 5th, 2016

 

Phone scam ‘a major threat’, say IRS

 

Phone scam ‘a major threat’, say IRSWASHINGTON — This tax season has seen a surge in aggressive scammers calling up taxpayers across the nation. The phone scammers claim to be with the IRS, say that a tax bill must be paid immediately, and threaten to send police officers to the victim’s door.

This week the IRS sent out a recent warning about the phone scam, calling them “a major threat to taxpayers.”

The IRS says the scammers use the threat of arrest, deportation or court action to victims into sending them money, usually through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card.

In order to appear official, the calls can come from fake phone numbers which often include Washington, D.C.’s area code. Scammers may also already have some personal information about their target victims.

The scams can also start through a phishing email; other variations involve scammers telling people they will be getting a large refund of some kind.

In a video released last month warning about the scams, Tim Camus, deputy inspector general for the Treasury Department, said Americans have lost more than $20 million to criminals impersonating IRS employees. “The real IRS will generally first make contact by letter, and will never demand immediate payment or threaten force,” he said.

Those who encounter what they believe to be a scam phone call should hang up straight away, and not give out any information of personal nature. The scam attempts can be reported online to the Treasury Department and to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

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