Con artists are trying to new tactics in pulling their tried-and-true attempts to scam people out of their income tax rebates, New Jersey prosecutors say.

Monmouth County Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said the more traditional scams of claiming to be with the IRS or winning a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot are still at play, but are still too good to be true.

“The IRS does not call anyone out of the blue trying to collect back taxes and the Lottery Commission doesn’t call to say you won. These con artists are simply extorting money by means of fear, lies and intimidation. Their only objective is conning you into sending them money. Don’t fall for it,” Gramiccioni said.

Some scam calls have taken on a more pleasant tone and try to appear to be helpful. Adding to the appearance of authenticity to the call is the "IRS" displaying on Caller ID and the use of fake names and phony IRS identification ID numbers.

Another twist is to combine the IRS and lottery call scams into one. An initial caller claims money is owed to the IRS and leaving a number to call for payment. But when the number is called, the caller is told there was a mistake and they are a lottery winner instead. To claim your prize, however, taxes must be paid up front.

"Every twist and turn in the conversation is building on your desire to rake in the money or face the fear-factor of losing it all," Gramiccioni said.

The scams are not limited to the phone according to Giamiccioni. Scammers are also using phishing, malware and e-mail schemes to extort money by threatening to lock your computer and installing software to steal your information.

Gramiccioni said the IRS will never:

— Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

— Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

— Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

— Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

— Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Anyone who feels they have been scammed should contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers at 800-671-4400 or text MONMOUTH and their tip
to 274637.

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.