IRS warns of huge phone scam - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

IRS warns of huge phone scam

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Many people are concerned about filing their taxes, but getting those done before the April 15 deadline might not be the only thing to be worry about. Taxpayers must pay attention to make sure they don't fall victim to what the Treasury Inspector General for the Tax Administration Russell George is calling "the largest scam of its kind." 

The scam involves taxpayers receiving a phone call from individuals who claim to be from the IRS. Then the individuals tell the person that taxes are owed and must be paid with a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers are focusing on the elderly and immigrants. Over 20,000 people have fallen victim to this phone fraud scam and over 1 millions dollars paid to it.  

"Sometimes the people did have a relationship with the IRS. They did have back taxes due. They were making payments on those taxes," IRS Spokesman Luis Garcia said. "They thought ‘I got to pay this all off' and they thought the tax debt was paid." 

Garcia says that there are signs people should look for. "The big red flag for people should be the way that they become very aggressive," Garcia said. "They try to leverage other law enforcement to get you to pay right away." 

The scammers call from a number that appears as an IRS number on a caller ID. In most cases, they have the last four digits of the person's Social Security Number as well as their date of birth. They will also send an email from what appears to be an IRS account.  Lastly, the scammers call and present themselves as local police or the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Garcia says if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or a local police department in regards to owing taxes, hang up immediately and either contact your local authorities or report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484.  

If the people involved in the scam are caught, Garcia says it is possible that criminal restitutions could be used to pay back the victims who lost money.

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