Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on December 16, 2013 @ 2:21PM
Created on December 16, 2013 @ 2:14PM
CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today cautioned citizens about a phone scam occurring in West Virginia and other states in which a caller pretends to work for the Internal Revenue Service and threatens residents with arrest or other punishment if they don’t pay a certain sum using a pre-paid debit card or money order.
“These callers claim the person who answered the phone has unpaid taxes that must be paid immediately,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “They use aggressive language and threaten everything from jail time to deportation to loss of a driver’s license or business license if the money isn’t paid immediately. This is a despicable scam that plays off of citizen’s fear and confusion about the IRS. Citizens need to know this isn’t how a federal agency works.”
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the callers who commit this fraud often:
Use common names and provide fake IRS badge numbers.
Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
Make it appear as if the IRS is really calling.
Send fake IRS emails to support their scam.
Call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV to support their claim.
“While scammers often use high pressure sales tactics to force consumers into bad decisions, the IRS will never make threats of violence or ask you to pay via pre-paid cards or wire transfer,” Morrisey said. “The role of the IRS and collecting taxes that are owed can be a complicated and confusing issue for many people. Scammers will then play on that confusion and prey on vulnerable citizens to swindle them out of their hard-earned money."
Morrisey said citizens who believe they may have a tax issue should contact the IRS directly, rather than answer questions from someone who calls or emails them out of the blue.
If someone claiming to be an IRS representative requesting payment contacts you, immediately hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If you owe taxes, IRS workers can help you get those resolved. If a fraudulent IRS representative contacts you, please contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-368-8808.
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