Fake IRS Calls

Beware of this one.  Email and phone scams aims to get people to shell out money for taxes they don’t owe.  The scammers cast a wide net targeting a lot of us, but many of their victims are immigrants.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

It starts with fake IRS calls. Someone calls and tells you they are from the IRS or your state’s tax department like the  New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. They say you owe back taxes and if you don’t pay immediately you’ll be fined, deported or arrested.

IRS LogoIn some cases after they call they send an email with the fake claim that you owe money. They instruct you to wire the money through a pre-loaded debit card. If you hesitate, sometimes they have another scammer call up and pretend to be a law enforcement agent.

Many calls come from the 530 area code in California. Others use “spoofing’ techniques to mask their identity and they are good at it.

So the numbers that come up on caller ID are the real phone numbers of the IRS, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and local police departments. Scammers also used fake names and IRS badge numbers, and may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.  

THINGS TO KNOW TO AVOID THE SCAM

1. The IRS does not call to threaten or demand money.

2. The state tax department does not call to threaten or demand money.

3. The IRS sends all requests by mail, not email.

4. The state tax department sends all request by mail, not email.

 

Photo by Don Hankins
Photo by Don Hankins
 

 

READ OUR LATEST STORY ON THE IRS SCAM HERE

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A CALL OR EMAIL

1. Hang up the phone immediately if someone claiming to be from the Tax Department or IRS unexpectedly calls and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation.

2. Report fraud to the IRS by calling 1-800-829-0433.

3. Report the fraud to New York State.

4.  Contact the State Tax Department at 518-435-8523,  the New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection at 518-474-8583. 5. File a complaint online.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says, “These criminals are posing as public officials and using fear to dupe taxpayers into forfeiting their money. I urge all New Yorkers to be mindful of these scam artists and encourage anyone who thinks they may have been targeted to immediately contact the proper authorities.”  

Listen to a Fake IRS call and read an update here

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.