The Polk County Sheriff's Office is seeing an increase in telephone scams in Polk County where the caller claims to work for the IRS and demands payment of taxes owed.
"We want to remind residents to treat any call where someone threatens you or demands money as suspicious, and to immediately report it to the appropriate agency. If you have elderly relatives, ensure they are aware of scams like these. NEVER send money to someone or give personal information to someone you do not know." - Sheriff Grady Judd
The IRS never makes phone calls or sends email about taxes - they only communicate via U.S. Postal Service.
The IRS has created a page specific to this scam and are requesting that victims report the incident on the site so they can investigate it. The website is http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.
From the IRS website:
These phone scams include many variations, ranging from instances from where callers say the victims owe money or are entitled to a huge refund. Some calls can threaten arrest and threaten a driver’s license revocation. Sometimes these calls are paired with follow-up calls from people saying they are from the local police department or the state motor vehicle department.
Characteristics of these scams can include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
- Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- These scammers often: use common names and fake IRS badge numbers; know the last four digits of your Social Security number; demand payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS doesn’t ask for either of these payment methods, nor will they ask for credit card numbers; rig caller ID information to appear as if the IRS really is calling; send fake emails that look like legitimate IRS correspondence; make a second call claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, rigging the caller ID information
After threatening victims with jail time or a driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
In another variation, one sophisticated phone scam has targeted taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. 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, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do: 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 as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
If you’ve been targeted by these scams, 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."