Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Arizona is warning consumers of phone calls from scammers posing as the IRS, threatening consumers with legal action over a phony tax bills.
BBB has received multiple calls from Sothern Arizona consumers who say that someone contacted them claiming to be with the IRS “Tax Litigation Department,” and threatened them with either a lawsuit or imminent arrest unless they wired money- using a pre-paid debit card- to the scam artists.
One Tucson consumer told BBB that a man with what she described as an Indian accent contacted her, claiming to be with the IRS, and said she owed more than $7,000 in back taxes. The consumer told BBB that the man became very hostile, and threatened to have her arrested if she didn’t pay at least $700 to “settle” her account.
The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration believes the scam has captured more than $1 million nationwide, and is calling it “the largest ever phone fraud scam targeting taxpayers.”
The IRS says that in some instances the scammers have been able to recite the last four digits of their victims’ Social Security Numbers, spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling, and have even called consumers back a second time posing as a local police or sheriff’s department official.
The IRS has several tips to help consumers identify and avoid the scam:
· If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at (800)829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
· If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800)366-4484.
· If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
· Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
For more consumer news or to find a business you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/tucson.