HARRISBURG – (May 18, 2018) After several Greenville-area residents reported intimidating phone calls, in which the caller demanded money or warned of jail time, Sen. Michele Brooks reminds consumers that fraudulent callers are impersonating IRS agents – and telling recipients they need to send money right away or risk arrest by the IRS.
“This is a scam,” Sen. Brooks underscored. “This latest scam has been particularly frightening and believable, so I wanted everyone to know these calls are occurring in our area.”
One recent near-victim was a local woman who said someone called her, said he was from the IRS, that she owed thousands of dollars in back taxes – and that agents were waiting outside her home to arrest her if she did not pay her “tax debt” immediately. Some people have been defrauded of tens of thousands of dollars in this way.
The Bureau of Consumer Protection offered these tips for consumers to help avoid being scammed:
- The IRS does not use threatening or aggressive calls. A scammer may threaten to involve the police, immigration officers or other law enforcement if you do not pay promptly. The IRS will not do that.
- The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text or social media, and will especially not contact you seeking personal financial information.
- Do not trust the number you see on your caller ID, even if it appears to be coming from the IRS. Scam artists increasingly use a technique known as “spoofing” to “trick” your caller ID into thinking the call is originating from a certain phone number.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone. Do not provide information over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from the IRS or your bank.
- The IRS does not require taxpayers to use a specific method of payment such as a pre-paid debit card, money order, wire transfer, gift cards or cash.
Pennsylvania consumers who feel they have been victimized by the IRS scam or other scams should file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by calling 800-441-2555 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“With new technologies being misused in devious ways for scams like spoofing, please be aware of these criminal tactics and know the best way to protect yourself from being victimized,” Sen. Brooks said.
Contact: Diane McNaughton