Tax scammers using more aggressive efforts

Callers are using more aggressive threats to try to get you to reveal personal information. (Source: MGN Online)
Callers are using more aggressive threats to try to get you to reveal personal information. (Source: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The IRS is reiterating a previous warning about telephone scammers.

Reports indicate particularly aggressive tactics that threaten victims with arrest, license revocation, or even having utilities shut off. In the case of immigrants, they are threatened with deportation. The victims are told they are entitled to big refunds – or they're told they owe money that is due immediately.

If you've filed your taxes and are having to pay or expecting a refund, it's nerve-wracking to be contacted by the IRS. But the IRS is again warning you to be suspicious of anyone calling you claiming to be with the agency.

"We are getting reports that people are getting calls from people claiming to be an IRS agent," said Michele Mason of the Better Business Bureau, "either saying that they owe more money than was on their form or maybe that they are getting more money than what is on their form."

They are requesting your account number or other personal information, or to transfer money.

"The IRS isn't going to call you," said Mason. "Just the fact that you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS is a pretty big red flag."

The IRS will always contact you first via mail.

"You even have to be careful if they say they will follow up with an email with a link to click on, where you really don't know who the sender is," Mason said.

As we've warned you before, these scammers can sound and seem legitimate, even making it appear they are calling from a legitimate phone in a process called caller-ID spoofing.

"Someone can use software to change the information, so it looks like you are really getting a call from the IRS," explained Mason.

The best thing to do is hang up and call the IRS directly. The number to call is 1-800-829-1040.

If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe you owe, then contact the Treasury Inspector General at 1-800-366-4484.

If you have been targeted by this scam, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission via their Complaint Assistant. Add the words "Telephone Scam" to the complaint.

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