SCAM ALERT — FAKE IRS PHONE CALLS
Consumers are receiving phone calls and robocalls from individuals claiming to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These bogus calls claim that citizens owe back taxes, threatening them with arrest if they do not pay immediately.
Victims have been robbed of millions of dollars since the scam began circulating four years ago, according to the IRS.
“Don’t be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money,” says IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”
The scripts used in calls may vary, but the intent is the same. “The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” Koskinen says. “Some schemes may say you’re entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you.”The IRS will never:
• Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
• 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.
• Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
“We encourage our customers to be cautious when dealing with unsolicited calls,” says Erwin Utilities. “This IRS scam is particularly alarming, because it scares people into giving money to these criminals who use the IRS name and the threat of arrest or other legal action as tools to scam unsuspecting citizens.”
If you receive such a call, do not provide any personal information. Hang up the phone immediately.
Erwin Utilities encourages its customers to discuss this threat with all their friends and family members, particularly the elderly, to help them avoid becoming a victim.