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IRS phone scam targets unsuspecting victims

Posted on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 2:16 pm

05-18-16 irs phone scamPeople from all over the country are falling victim to an IRS phone scam, which has once again hit Moore County and surrounding areas.

These IRS impersonators are calling up their targets, unsuspecting taxpayers, and demanding they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the “official IRS agent” with consequences such as jail time, deportation, a home visit by an IRS representative, loss of a business or the suspension of a business or driver’s license.

In order to convince people that they are real IRS agents, the scammers use several tricks, including a program to make the IRS’s toll-free number appear on the caller ID, call center background noise and false agent badge numbers.

If the target is not already convinced, the scammer mentions the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number, and this complex scam goes even further. Those who hang up on the caller may receive another call soon after from a scammer claiming to be a police officer or a DMV agent.

A handful of Moore County residents, and several in the Fayetteville area, are reporting receiving such calls, but many knew something wasn’t right. The caller, with an Indian accent and caller ID number of 682-498-5043, has threatened local residents that they need to pay their taxes immediately or suffer the consequences. After hanging up on such scammers, the scammers will oftentimes call more times trying to bully their target into sending money.

BBB and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued several warnings about this scam. The truth is the IRS would never contact you by phone about unpaid taxes and would never ask for payment via a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. A delinquent taxpayer would receive notice via the U.S. mail.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of the IRS phone scam:

Beware of any caller claiming to be with the IRS and demanding money.

If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. IRS representatives can help you with your payment questions.

If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to BBB and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. This is a scare tactic many scammers use.