Several different residents told authorities they were contacted by a caller who said he was with a lawyer's office representing the IRS. The caller told the residents the attorney was going to file complaints against them in court unless they made payments immediately.
The caller instructed people to purchase green dot money packs from a local store, like CVS, and he then provided them with a PIN number in order so they could make the necessary payments.
The IRS said scammers typically threaten people who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license.
Tips from the IRS about callers who commit this fraud:
- Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
- Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
- Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling.
- Send bogus IRS emails to support their scam.
- Call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV, and caller ID again supports their claim.
The truth is the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The agency also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:
- If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
- If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
- You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.