The scam artists are at it again.
Due to a recent influx of reported Internal Revenue Service tax scam calls, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is reissuing updated informational warnings shared late last year. Almost daily, YCSO employees are receiving the scam calls, spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.
The most common complaint involves scam artists acting as IRS agents and calling to demand money or indicate a tax refund is due as a means to obtain personal information. When the scammer claims an overdue tax payment, they will demand the taxpayer send cash via prepaid debit cards or iTunes gift cards. The calls are intimidating because many times the scammers are able to share specific knowledge they have regarding taxpayer identification in order to appear more convincing.
“Some victims are also reporting that suspects are making threats if there is a refusal to cooperate,” D’Evelyn said. “These so-called IRS agents claim a ‘warrant will be issued for your arrest’ or the local police will be sent to your home if you do not comply immediately. Neither will ever happen. Please report such calls to your local law enforcement agency.”
He also said to consider simply blocking calls from frequently used scam phone numbers. If you get a voicemail message demanding a tax payment, delete the message. Avoid engaging these suspects on the phone.
Recently, law enforcement officers from YCSO and the Prescott Valley Police Department have been successful in stopping fraud payments sent from unwitting victims due to early intervention, D’Evelyn said.
“We haven’t had any of these types of frauds in quite some time,” said Sgt. Jim Pott, of the Sedona Police Department. “If YCSO is putting something out it’s possible they are seeing it again, which means we might see it again, too.”
In late 2014, SPD reported receiving calls from residents regarding a potential IRS scam. At that time, Lt. Lucas Wilcoxson said those callers have fallen victim to the scam.
“People are getting calls from someone who says they are from the IRS, they owe money and if they don’t pay they’re going to get sued, there’s going to be an arrest warrant issued or civil injunction,” he said in 2014. “They’re very aggressive on the phone with the hope of creating fear.”
He said the incoming call comes from a Washington, D.C., area code of 202, which makes it look even more legitimate. However, if you call the number it is rerouted to another. From what he’s found, it’s an international number from the country of Turkey.
“Even though the people we’ve talked too have not fallen for the scam, I’m afraid there are people here who have and have lost money,” he said. “This just started a month ago but it seems to be picking up and I expect it to increase.”
According to the IRS, the agency will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, you should do the following:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at (800) 366-4484 or at tigta.gov.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use its FTC Complaint Assistant at FTC.gov.
Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS