BBB: IRS telephone scam targeting local area residents

BBB: IRS telephone scam targeting local area residents
BBB Logo (Source: KPLC)

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA (KPLC) - An IRS scam targeting local consumers is making the rounds again, according to local Better Business Bureau leaders.

Even though the caller ID on the phone shows IRS, consumers are advised to be cautious when answering questions, said Carmen Million, spokesperson for the BBB. Callers may claim the person owes taxes and that a bench warrant will be issued immediately if payment isn't made. Or, a message is left on your phone supposedly from a government agency stating you may face criminal charges and must call a certain number immediately.

This technique is called "spoofing," a ploy in which scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to identify themselves, Million said. The calls usually come from a foreign country and scammers use sophisticated technology to mask the number and make it look like it is actually the IRS.

"If someone calls you and tells you that you owe debt, you have the right to request written documentation for proof of the debt. Consumers should never provide personal information such as social security number, bank account numbers or credit card numbers, etc. to an unknown caller," she said. Another warning sign of a scam is if the caller demands that you to purchase a 'green dot moneypak card' or wire the money immediately.

The BBB frequently receives calls from consumers who are upset and scared they are going to be arrested even though they believe they do not owe taxes, Million said. The public should be aware that the IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone,

If you are not sure if you owe taxes, you should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you feel you are being scammed, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You may also want to report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.

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