Tax scam reported; IRS issues warning to taxpayers
With tax season comes tax scams, and one has been reported to The Concordia Blade-Empire.
A Concordia resident received a robo-call on their cell phone claiming to be from a representative of a federal government agency.
The caller claims to have received a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about the person's tax filing and that the person has four serious allegations against them. It states that unless the allegations are dealt with, the person will be taken into custody by federal official and gives a phone number to call to avoid this. The number is 808-468-4517.
The IRS issued a press release on Tuesday warning taxpayers to be alert to tax time phone scams where aggressive criminals pose as IRS agents in hopes of stealing money and personal information.
Phone scams, or “vishing” (voice phishing) continue to pose a major threat. The scam has cost thousands of people millions of dollars in recent years, and the IRS continues to see variations of these aggressive calling schemes.
Phone scams again made the IRS' Dirty Dozen list, an annual compilation of some of the schemes that threaten taxpayers not only during tax filing season but throughout the year.
The IRS is highlighting each of these scams on consecutive days to help raise awareness and protect taxpayers. The IRS also urges taxpayers to help protect themselves against phone scams and identity theft by reviewing safety tips prepared by Security Summit, a collaborative effort between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community.
“Taxpayers should be on the lookout for unexpected and aggressive phone calls purportedly coming from the IRS,” IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “These calls can feature scam artists aggressively ordering immediate payment and making threats against a person. Don't fall for these.”
Beginning early in the tax filing season, the IRS sees an upswing in scam phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or license revocation if the victim doesn't pay a bogus tax bill. These calls are most often take the form of a robo-call (a text-to-speech recorded voicemail with instructions to call back a specific telephone number), but in some cases may be made by a real person. These con artists may have some of the taxpayer's information including address, the last four digits of their Social Security number or other personal details.
Many phone scammers use threats and bully a victim into paying. The phone scammers may alter of “spoof” their caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers may use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that scammers often change tactics. Variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round and tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike. Tax scams can be more believable during the tax filing season when people are thinking about their taxes.
A list of things the IRS will not do includes:
• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
• Threaten to immediately bring in police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
• Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Call about an unexpected refund.