Baton Rouge, LA, July 17, 2014....BBB has received over 30 calls since Monday regarding IRS phone scams circulating in the Baton Rouge service area. Even though tax season ended months ago, scammers still claim victims owe money to the government and must pay up immediately, or they will suffer serious consequences.
In one case, a consumer was threatened being thrown in jail if he did not return calls. In another case, a consumer was given the same ultimatum if she failed to respond to a pending lawsuit against her. BBB offers the following reminders to safeguard yourself from such predatory tactics:
~The IRS always starts with U.S. Mail. If a caller claiming to be an IRS agent notifies you of an outstanding tax debt, but you haven't received official notification from the IRS through the U.S. Postal Sen/ice, don't respond. The IRS starts by sending taxpayers written notification of any tax due via U.S. Mail.
~The IRS won't ask on the phone. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. Any request from a caller should raise a red flag.
~ Scammers can be convincing. It's not unusual for scammers to be able to recite the last four digits of your Social Security number or your address. Be vigilant and remain aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with consumers over the telephone or via email.
~ Look out for “spoofing.” Part of scammers’ sophisticated tactics include “spoofing,” which happens when callers mask their own numbers and cause the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID.
~ Don't be bullied. Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. Scams prey on your emotions, so don't let fear get the best of you. Hang up the phone if a scammer gets hostile with you.
~Keep your PIN. Another piece of information the IRS will never ask for is a PIN, password or similar conﬁdential access information for credit cards or bank accounts. If a caller asks, don't give it out.
~Call the authorities. If you're solicited by someone suspicious claiming to be from the IRS, contact law enforcement immediately, then report it to your BBB to help other consumers stay safe, as well,
For more than 100 years, BBB has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, consumers turned to BBB 132 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB of South Central Louisiana, Inc. has been serving the local community since 1950 and services the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge & West Feliciana.