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IRS Warns of New Phone Scam [AUDIO]

There’s a new scam to be on the lookout for.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said callers are posing as agents from IRS in an attempt to get your money, and anyone can be a target, especially middle and lower income earners and immigrants.

IRS 1040 Tax Form
IRS 1040 Tax Form (Filckr User Ken Teegardin)

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS, and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

David Stewart, a media relations officer for the IRS, warned these scammers are very sophisticated.  He said scammers are using fake names and IRS badge numbers, sending bogus emails to corroborate their claims, and threatening victims with jail time or license revocation.  In some cases, they have other scammers call back pretending to be local police to backup their claims.

“They have computers doing the dialing, they have computers leaving the messages, they have computers sending out the emails. And when you see or hear the words or letters ‘IRS,’ it grabs your attention immediately,” said Stewart.

The IRS said callers will go as far as to have background noise to make it sound more official, even spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller IDs to make it appear legit.

Stewart said they don’t believe the calls are even coming from the United States.  “They look like they’re coming from within the United States but if we’re able to capture that line or number, we find they’re being rerouted through a foreign based company.”

What should you do if you get a suspicious call?  Stewart said to tell the caller you’re busy right now and will have to call back.

“Then what you do is you call either the toll free number or you call your local office and say ‘Hey I got this call, is there anything wrong with my account or am I up to date?'” Stewart added even if someone calls you verifying your information; don’t say “yes, that’s me.”

The IRS toll-free number is at 800-829-1040, or the contact for your local IRS office can be found here.

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