Scam Alert: IRS Phone Scam

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Immediate Public Release 12/18/2014

Over the past week, Havelock Police have received numerous phone calls from citizens concerning phone calls from alleged IRS agents.  The citizens are being told, they owe back taxes and if the monies are not paid immediately, an arrest warrant will be issued.  There are many IRS scams taking place and the scammers usually want some or all of the following:

  1. Verify your name and address
  2. Verify your date of birth and social security number
  3. Payment for the back taxes by purchasing a money gram card (typically obtained from various retail stores)

 

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent and they want payment immediately and threaten to put you in jail, we suggest hanging up the phone and doing one of the following:

  1. Call your tax preparer
  2. Call the IRS directly
  3. Call your local law enforcement agency for advice

 

The IRS issued a warning on their web page in August 2014 (LINK)

** The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. 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, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

 

We would also like to advise the community to be very careful when selling an item online, such as craigslist, cherry point yard sales or other similar web page. Scammers will contact you to purchase the item. They will, normally, send you a real check, usually stolen from a business,  to purchase the item and will also include a very high “shipping amount”. Scammers, then,  ask you to cash the check and mail the “Shipping Monies” to an alleged shipping company who will come and pick up the item. There is no shipping company! You are actually sending the money directly to the scammer. No one ever picks up the item and then the bank comes to you a few weeks later to claim reimbursement for the ‘bad check’. Remember, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

If you have any questions about this scam or other scams being conducted, please contact your local law enforcement agency with any questions.

** Except borrowed from the IRS web page, www.irs.gov