Many people are calling the San Angelo Police Department to report an ongoing IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam, said Officer Tracy Gonzalez with the San Angelo Police Department’s Public Information & Social Media department.
According to a press release provided by SAPD, the IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam targets tax payers, including recent immigrants. Callers claim to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service; however, they are not.
“These con artists can sound convincing when they call,” Gonzalez wrote. “They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.”
During these calls, these callers tell victims they owe money to the IRS, and those funds need to be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, the callers threaten people with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
“In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting,” Gonzalez said. “Victims may also be told they have a refund due to try and trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.”
Overall, the IRS will never do the following:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
- Demand that a person pays taxes without giving him or her the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say is owed.
- Requires individuals to use a specific payment method for paying 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 people arrested for not paying.
SAPD is asking for citizens to be wary if they receive a call from someone who claims to be from the IRS and demands immediate payment. For those people who don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think they do, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by using TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page at http://apps.irs.gov/app/scripts/exit.jsp?dest=http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtmlto report the incident. Additionally, people should report information to the Federal Trade Commission by using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. SAPD officials said to document "IRS Telephone Scam" in the comment section of the report.
In addition, another common IRS Scam is the Email Phishing Scam. People will receive an "Update your IRS e-file" message through email. These emails appear to be from the IRS and will include a link to a bogus website intended to mirror the official IRS website. These emails contain the direction “you are to update your IRS e-file immediately.”
“The emails mention USA.gov and IRSgov (without a dot between "IRS" and "gov"), though notably, not IRS.gov (with a dot). These emails are not from the IRS,” Gonzalez added.
Gonzalez also stated that taxpayers who get these messages should not respond to the email or click on the links. Instead, they should forward the Scam emails to the IRS at [email protected]. For more information, visit the IRS's Report Phishing web page by clicking here. Also, keep in mind that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
“Our best defense against scams is to educate the public. Please share this important information with family and friends via social media or by good old-fashioned conversation,” said officials from the SAPD Crime Prevention Section.