IRS warns consumers about telephone scam

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned consumers about a telephone scam targeting taxpayers throughout the U.S. Victims are told they owe the IRS money and the money must be paid promptly through a wire transfer or pre-loaded debit card. Victims are threatened with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver's license if they do not comply.

"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," says Danny Werfel, IRS acting commissioner. "We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone nor request a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling."

Scam characteristics include scammers using fake names or IRS badge numbers; being able to recite the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number; spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID; sending bogus IRS emails to support calls; victims hearing background noise from other calls to mimic a call site; and scammers hanging up, followed by another call from someone pretending to be from the local police or Department of Motor Vehicles with the caller ID supporting their claims.