Sheriff warns of fake IRS calls seeking payments


Staff Report



A recent scam involving criminals impersonating IRS agents has Lorain County sheriff Phil Stammitti on alert.

“These impersonators will threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation, and other things. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into sending money to them,” he wrote in a bulletin to the News-Tribune.

Sometimes aggressive and threatening, the callers can also go the other way, promising huge refunds.

Most often, scammers make unsolicited phone demanding that the victim pay a tax bill. They con victims into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

They may also leave an “urgent” callback request through phone robocalls or via a phishing email, Stammitti warned.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. They use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address, and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Here ace five things scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any of these 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 credit or debit card numbers over the phone

• Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups 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, and you don’t owe tax money, do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.

Contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use its “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage or call 800-366-4484.

Further, report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” at www.ftc.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and an IRS worker can help.

Staff Report