Clearwater, FL - Tax Day is closely approaching on April 15 and people from all over the country are falling victim to a recent phone scam by scammers pretending to be IRS agents. 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 “IRS agents.” The threats include jail time, deportation, or the suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.
“It’s tax crunch time and scammers are trying to catch you off guard”, said Karen Nalven, President of BBB Serving West Florida. “Whether you are in a hurry to complete your taxes on time or you are waiting until the last minute because you owe, scammers know how to play on the emotions of their victims and win them over.”
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, several callers are able to report 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.
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 the mail, not a phone call.
-In general, never give anyone money or credit card information over the phone.
-Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. This is a tactic many scammers 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 or an immigration agency involved just because you owe taxes.
And for information you can always Trust, visit www.bbb.org