Area consumers are currently receiving phone calls from scammers posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials regarding nonpayment of taxes.
One local woman said she received a recorded message from a woman who called herself Officer Heather Gray of the IRS. The message instructed the local woman or her attorney to call the hotline 202.506.9529 immediately, because the matter was time sensitive.
Those people returning the phone calls are told they owe taxes. The taxes can be paid with a pre-paid debit card, wire transfer or a credit card. If the person does not comply, the scammer threatens to issue a warrant for his arrest, or take away his driver’s license or business.
There are ways to recognize a tax scam artist. These scammers often:
■ call you. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they do it by postal mail, not by phone.
■ use common names & fake IRS badge numbers. Heather Gray seems to be one of the more common names.
■ know the last 4 digits of your social security number
■ demand payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS doesn’t ask for either of these payment methods, nor will they ask for credit card numbers.
■ rig caller ID information to appear as if the call is coming from the Internal Revenue Service
■ make a second call claiming to be the police or bureau of motor vehicles (rigging caller ID information)
To protect yourself from imposters claiming to be from the IRS:
■ Hang up the phone
■ Don’t provide any account or other personal information
■ Never wire money to a person or company you don’t know
■ Call and report the incident to TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) at 800.366.4484
■ File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at ftc.gov/complaint. Include “IRS TELEPHONE SCAM” in your complaint
These crooks can be very convincing! So, always keep your guard up! Please share this information with your family and friends.
And, as always, if you have any questions, we’d be glad to help!