Hawaii's BBB Warns of Fake IRS Agent Collection Calls

Hawaii’s BBB is warning residents about IRS impersonators that are hoping to scare you into paying money you don’t owe. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest.
April 15, 2014

Callers are reporting that the scammers are using several tricks including:

  • Using fake names and IRS badge numbers.
  • Reciting the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS calling.
  • Sending bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their fake calls.
  • Hearing background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

Hawaii’s BBB urges consumers to be vigilant and do your homework whenever you receive an unsolicited call asking for money. Follow these tips in order to protect yourself from this IRS scam and others like it:

Beware of any caller claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money. The IRS announced that it would never ask for payments by wire transfer or a prepaid card and it will typically alert taxpayers of unpaid taxes via certified postal mail, not a phone call or email.

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue.

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

Be skeptical of what a caller claims he or she can do if you refuse to meet their demand. An IRS agent will not get the police involved just because you owe taxes.

Established in 1945, Hawaii’s Better Business Bureau® (BBB) is the local authority on trust in the marketplace. Only businesses and charities that meet and adhere to BBB standards can receive BBB accreditation. Through the support of over 2,650 local accredited businesses, BBB is able to offer free services to the community including BBB business and charity reviews and educational resources on topics affecting marketplace trust. BBB also offers fair and timely dispute resolution programs for consumers and businesses. Resources are available online at www.bbb.org