Phone fraud scam targets taxpayers - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Phone fraud scam targets taxpayers

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Taxpayers beware! The Internal Revenue Service reports the largest telephone scam of its kind. Taxpayers are getting unsolicited calls from individuals who claim to represent the IRS. The scam has hit taxpayers in almost every state.

The callers claim to be from the IRS and tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation, or loss of a business or driver's license.

The IRS usually makes a first contact with a taxpayer by mail - not by phone - about unpaid taxes. The IRS will not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.

Some tips to consider should you receive a threatening call purportedly from the IRS: The callers use common names and fake IRS badge numbers. They typically know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number. The callers are able to make caller ID information appear to show the call is from the IRS, and they can send bogus IRS emails to support the scam. Often, they will call a second time, claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles - again with caller ID supporting the claim.

Any taxpayer who receives such a call should do one of the following: (1) If you owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help with payment questions. (2) If you do not owe taxes, call and report the phonecall to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration at 800-366-4484. (3) You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in the complaint.

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