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45 counties of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky
IRS Phone Scam Hits Mid TN
Consumers Threatened with jail time, deportation, and more
April 23, 2014

[April 23, 2014 – Nashville, TN] People from all over the country are falling victim to an IRS phone scam, which has recently hit Middle Tennessee. These IRS impersonators are calling up their targets, unsuspecting taxpayers and often immigrants, and demanding that they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the “official IRS agent” with consequences such as jail time, deportation, a home visit by an IRS representative, loss of a business, or the suspension of a business or driver’s license.

In order to convince people that they are real IRS agents, the scammers use several tricks including a program to make the IRS’s toll-free number appear on the caller ID, call center background noise, and false agent badge numbers. If the target is not already convinced, the scammer mentions the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number, and this complex scam goes even further. Those who hang up on the caller may receive another call soon after from a scammer claiming to be a police officer or a DMV agent.

Mary Pitts of Fayetteville, TN experienced such a call, but knew something wasn’t right.  The caller, with an Indian accent and caller ID number of 202.506.9044, told her she needed to pay her taxes immediately or suffer the consequences, but Ms. Pitts was on the ball. After hanging up on the scammer, he called three more times trying to bully her into sending money. 

BBB and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have issued several warnings about this scam.  The truth is, the IRS would never contact you by phone about unpaid taxes and would never ask for payment via a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.  A delinquent taxpayer would receive notice via the U.S. mail. 

BBB offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of the IRS phone scam:

    • Beware of any caller claiming to be with the IRS and demanding money.
    • If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. IRS representatives can help you with your payment questions.
    • If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to BBB and to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.  You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
    • Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want.  This is a scare tactic many scammers use.


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