7 On your side: IRS phone scams - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

7 On your side: IRS phone scams

Over the past few weeks, the local Better Business Bureau has received numerous calls from consumers targeted by scammers pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.   But you can avoid becoming a victim if such con artists ring your number.

A local resident who received one of the calls shared the recording with us.

"This is tax crime investigation, Department of Internal Revenue Service, and this message is intended for you," said the man with the foreign accent.

The BBB has received numerous complaints about bogus calls such as this from callers targeting consumers.  The callers  claim the consumers are in trouble with the IRS. 

The call goes on to say, "A criminal case has been filed against your name and you are a suspect in a case filed by the Internal Revenue Service."

Carmen Million with the BBB says in many cases people are told they are going to be arrested if they don't pay up right away.

"They use different scenarios.  It may be back taxes, they may tell them it's on a loan, a different loan in the past years, but what consumers need to be aware of is that the IRS is not going to contact them.  They're definitely not going to threaten them, to put them in jail because that's what these callers are doing.  They're calling consumers.  They're telling them they owe a debt and that they're going to have a bench warrant for their arrest. And unfortunately we have consumers that are calling us and are really scared and upset," said Million. 

The imposters  also give fake employee ID numbers, trying to sound like the real thing, but the BBB and IRS warn they are predators.

"My name is officer Jason Clark and my badge number is 16386.  Now, if you don't return the call and I don't hear from your attorney either, then only thing I can do is wish you a good luck as the situation unfolds on you," said the voice on the phone.

Million urges consumers to be wary of such calls.

"If somebody says that you owe debt you have a right to determine if in fact it's legitimate.  You should not give your personal information on the phone to an unknown caller.  You shouldn't give a social security number, or a credit card number, another thing to look out for is they're asking consumers to go out and purchase a green dot money pack card which is another sign of caution," said Million.

 Again, the IRS always sends taxpayers a written notice in the U.S. mail of any tax due and never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.   Nor due they call taxpayers about lottery sweepstakes or solicitations such as debt relief. For more information from the IRS on scam phone calls click here.  You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission.

Another reminder-- you will never be asked to pay up front to claim a sweepstakes prize-- whether the scammer says it's for taxes, vehicle storage fees or something else.  People in our area continue to lose money when they pay up front with a money card after being told they've won something. 

Copyright 2014 KPLC All rights reserved    

The following is a news release from the SWLA BBB:

BBB Alert: IRS Scam Targets Local Consumer


BBB has received numerous calls regarding an IRS phone scam targeting local consumers. Even though tax season ended months ago, scammers still claim victims owe money to the government and must pay up immediately or will suffer serious consequences.

In most if not all cases, consumers were told there would be a bench warrant for their arrest if they did not pay immediately. Consumers were instructed to either give bank account information or purchase a green dot moneypak card. BBB warns that the IRS will not call you if you owe debt.

BBB offers the following reminders to safeguard against these predatory tactics:

The IRS always starts with U.S. Mail. If a caller claiming to be an IRS agent notifies you of an outstanding tax debt, but you haven't received official notification from the IRS through the United States Postal Service, get their information and investigate.

The IRS won't ask on the phone. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone, so a request from a caller should raise a red flag.

Scammers can be convincing. It's not unusual for scammers to be able to recite the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your address. Be vigilant and remain aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with consumers over the telephone or via email.

Look out for “spoofing.” Part of scammers' sophisticated tactics include “spoofing,” which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID.

Don't be bullied. Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. Scams prey on your emotions, so don't let fear get the best of you. Hang up the phone if a scammer gets hostile with you.

Keep your PIN. Another piece of information the IRS will never ask for is a PIN, password or similar confidential access information for credit cards or

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