CONSUMER ALERT: Fake IRS Calls Scam Consumers

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February 17, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Scam artists are continuing to pose as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, attempting to pressure Arkansans into turning over personal information or cash. They often demand that the consumer share private information in order to either receive a refund or to pay taxes immediately to avoid being arrested, but it is all an attempt to steal a person’s identity or take their money.

These IRS impersonators can be very convincing and have swindled more than $26.5 million from over 5,000 victims across the country since October 2013. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports that roughly 896,000 people across the U.S. have been contacted by such con artists during that same period.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to, once again, warn Arkansans of this scam and offer tips to recognize it, before falling victim to these criminals.

TIGTA reports these con artists have also been known to utilize an automated robocall machine, use common names, fake IRS badge numbers and may even know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.

“These impersonators can sound authentic, even spoofing caller ID technology to make it look like the call is coming from the IRS office in Washington, D.C.,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans need to remain diligent in protecting themselves from these scams. If money is actually owed to the IRS, the agency will first communicate the information in writing, and the IRS will never ask for personal or financial information through an unsolicited phone call or email.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following list of actions the IRS will not take, in hopes that Arkansans can spot this scam ahead of time. The IRS will not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment.
  • Demand payment and not allow an appeal of the amount owed.
  • Require taxes be paid in a certain way. For instance, require payment with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to make an arrest for unpaid taxes.

The IRS strongly recommends Arkansans who receive these threatening calls not give out any personal information and hang up immediately, contact the TIGTA at (800) 366-4484 to report the call and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The agency also requests that any scam emails be forwarded to phishing@irs.gov.

The IRS encourages Arkansans with any questions about owed taxes to contact their office directly at (800) 829-1040.

For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. Elected on Nov. 4, 2014, she is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office.

Rutledge, a native of Batesville, Arkansas, is a graduate of Southside High School, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She began her legal career as Clerk for Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, now Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She was appointed Deputy Counsel for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and later served as Legal Counsel on the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. She served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and in subsequent service as Attorney for the State of Arkansas’s Division of Children and Family Services. She also served as Deputy Counsel at the National Republican Congressional Committee before joining the Republican National Committee as Counsel. Prior to her election as Attorney General, she founded and practiced law at The Rutledge Firm, PLLC. Rutledge lives in Little Rock.

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