Sue A. McConnell
For Immediate Release - December 11, 2013 - Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to be wary of callers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and demanding immediate payment of back taxes.
A Cleveland man came home last week to find a message on his phone from Mr. Brown warning him not to ignore the call, that it concerned unpaid taxes and the problem was not going to to away. When he returned the call, he spoke to “Jenny” who told him a U. S. Marshall was schedule to come to his home the next day to arrest him if he did not make arrangements for payment. Since he, in reality, does have issues with unpaid taxes, he found the call and threats to be very believable. Jenny instructed him to purchase $2000 in Green Dot MoneyPak cards and call back with the serial numbers, which he did. When he realized he had been duped, he contacted MoneyPak only to be told that nothing could be done to recover his money.
This scam has been surfacing around Ohio and elsewhere. Victims report they are threatened with arrest, deportation, and even suspension of drivers licenses if payment is not made immediately. The caller often times becomes very demanding, hostile and insulting.
The IRS will never ask you for credit card numbers over the phone or request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
"Callers are caught off guard by these criminals,” said David Weiss, BBB president. “Consumers should be aware that court records of judgment liens are public information and can easily be obtained and used in attempts to perpetrate scams.”
The IRS reports this scam has hit nearly every state in the country and has these common characteristics:
● Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
● Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
● Scammers may have the last four digits of your Social Security number.
● Scammers can spoof IRS phone numbers to make it appear the call is really from the IRS.
● Victims can hear background noises of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
● After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or BMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
If you receive a similar type call:
● If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040.
● Hang up on any callers who demand payment by MoneyGram, Western Union, Green Dot cards or other electronic types of payments.