The Sheriff’s Office has been taking calls from the public reporting they had received phone call scams from someone purporting to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The caller warns the people that they are facing arrest by the Sheriff’s Office on felony charges within the next two hours unless they take certain actions, such as sending payments or providing information.
These calls are fraudulent scams and are not coming from the IRS. The Sheriff’s Office does not become involved in any collection efforts on behalf of the IRS.
According to the IRS website, they have received reports of roughly 896,000 such contacts since October, 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam. Scammers demand the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through telephone “robo-calls” or via a phishing email. Many phone scammers use threats to intimidate or bully a victim into paying, including threats of arrest.
The IRS lists five things that phone scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam:
The IRS 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 a credit or debit card number over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police 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, here’s what you should do:
- Do not give out any information at all. Hang up immediately.
- You can report the call to the U. S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on their website, www.FTC.gov.
- If you know you owe a tax or think you may owe a tax, you may call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and an IRS worker can help you.
BAXTER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE