Beware of IRS phone scam

Let’s be honest, we all hate telemarking phone calls and the annoying sales pitch. But, there’s another type of scam authorities want you to be aware of so that you don’t become another victim.

Scammers are now targeting unsuspecting individuals by calling and claiming that they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Scammers have figured out that if you don’t recognize a number, it’s unlikely that you’ll answer the call. So, what they are doing now is calling you and hoping that you don’t pick up.

The call goes to voicemail and this is where things get interesting. Often times the voice will sound robotic or the person speaking will have a foreign accent. However, the message is crystal clear.

The scammers will leave a telephone number for you to call back, include a reference number, and tell you that you have an outstanding tax lien or tax debt. You’re also told that until you pay the debt, you may have to appear before a judge or worse…be arrested!

The key here is no matter what the scammer tells you, don’t believe them! The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported in January of this year that over 10,000 unsuspecting individuals fell victim to this scam and since October of 2013, those victims have paid over $54 million to these scammers.

So what should you look out for if you receive one of these phone calls? Be on the look out for messages and callers who demand immediate payment, request that you wire transfer money, or that you send money via a debit card, gift card, or even an iTunes card.

Often times the scammers will sound legitimate. They will give you fake IRS badge numbers, case numbers, and may even know your name and address.

The IRS wants to remind you that they will never call you and demand a specific payment, threaten you by contacting the police, demand payment without sending you documentation and giving you a chance to review your file, or ask you for credit or debit card information over the phone.

If you receive one of these phone calls, you’re encouraged to hang up and contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

If you actually think you owe taxes and receive one of these phone calls, hang up and contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

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