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Scam Alert: Phone Calls From Scammers Claim to be the IRS

Phone and customer complaints
Phone and customer complaints via Paul Joseph on Flickr

You may have just gotten over the stress of submitting your tax forms back in April, but scammers are now lining up to take advantage of your fears.

Scam phone calls have increased this week and all have a similar theme: The caller claims to represent the Internal Revenue Service and warns you that you owe back taxes. The scam comes when the caller says they can settle your large back tax amount if you send a smaller amount of money to them. From there, it becomes another typical phone or email scam where they demand you transfer money in something like Bitcoin or wire transfers.

The official word from the IRS makes it clear that these con-artist phone calls are complete scams:

Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Any phone calls similar to this should be ignored, hung up on, blocked, or even reported to the Treasury Department or the FTC.

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