A rural Muldrow woman has avoided an IRS scam, but is concerned about how the scammers got her relatives’ telephone numbers.
The woman’s name will not be made public for her protection.
She reported she received a call at about 10:30 a.m. on Friday but didn’t answer the call because she did not recognize the phone number. The caller, however, left a message on her voice mail. He identified himself as being with the IRS and said there were four allegations against her and she owed money.
The wife of a former law enforcement officer, the woman called back and when the man demanded to know her Social Security number, she replied that, if he was with the IRS, he would know her number.
She said the man immediately hung up. She said she Googled the phone number and found it to be from India or Pakistan. She thought that would be the end of the incident, but then her aunt, a Texas resident, called Wednesday and said the IRS scammer had called her about the victim’s IRS bill.
“I had called her and told her about the scam, but I can’t figure out how they got her phone number. Did they hack into my phone call somehow? Other people are calling me about it too,” the woman reported.
She said she has reported the scam to the authorities, but she wants the public to know that the scammers are again making phone calls.
“I just don’t want a senior citizen or anyone to get taken in by these scammers,” she said.
According to the IRS web site, IRS agents never call and ask for money.
The IRS reminds seniors to remain alert to aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. 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.
The victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay it promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are often threatened with arrest. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Alternately, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. If the phone isn’t answered, the phone scammers often leave an “urgent” call-back request.
If receiving such a call, just hang up, the IRS advises.
In recent years, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams and fake IRS communication.
Here are four things the scammers often do but the IRS and its authorized PCAs will not do. Any one of these things is a telltale sign of a scam.
The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:
· Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
· Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
· Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
· Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
The IRS advises, if you don’t owe taxes:
· Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
· Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
· Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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