Fake IRS Calls Scam Consumers
February 17, 2016
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IRS encourages Arkansans with any questions about owed taxes to contact their office directly at (800) 829-1040.