Opinion: Be wary of telephone scam

Addison County taxpayers should take note of the latest telephone scam designed to separate them from their hard-earned cash — an IRS impersonation scam. According to a press release sent to tax professionals, the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration continue to hear from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS.
The red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people saying they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. Based on the 90,000 complaints that TIGTA has received through its telephone hotline to date, TIGTA has identified approximately 1,100 victims who have lost an estimated $5 million from these scams.
The scammers will identify themselves using fake badge numbers and names and will spoof the IRS toll-free telephone number on caller ID to make it appear that the call is legitimate. They may be able to recite the last digits of the individual’s Social Security number. The caller will say there are severe problems with the individual’s income tax return and that unless payment is immediately made via wire transfer, debit card or credit card, the victim will be arrested or their driver’s license will be revoked.
The scammers will then hang up and another scammer calls back pretending to be from the local police department or DMV, and the caller ID will once again verify a legitimate phone number.
The IRS urges anyone receiving a telephone call of this type to immediately report it to the IRS/TIGTA hotline at (800) 366-4484 or go online to www.tigta.gov.
Kim P. Loewer EA

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