Palm Bay Police Offers Tips On Avoiding Being a Victim of IRS Phone Scams

By  //  February 17, 2016

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ABOVE VIDEO: The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released this video to warn taxpayers not to fall for scammers who impersonate employees from the Internal Revenue Service.

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – As we enter tax season, the City of Palm Bay Police Department is warning residents against IRS phone scams. 

Along with the City of Palm Bay, the National Water Collar Crime Center and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) are increasing outreach efforts to share important information related to loss prevention for U.S. taxpayers who may fall victim to IRS impersonators.

According to TIGTA, they have received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.

“It is important that people understand that the IRS will not call demanding that you pay your taxes without first sending written notification,” explained Sergeant Michael Pusatere of the Palm Bay Police Department.

“Additionally, IRS impersonators will often have the last four digits of a person’s social security number or other personal identifiers, making them sound legitimate.”

Here is what you need to know:

The IRS generally first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes and the IRS will not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire a transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.

The callers who commit this fraud often:

• Utilize an automated robocall machine.
• Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
• May know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number.
• Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
• Aggressively demand immediate payment to avoid being criminally charged or arrested.
• Claim that hanging up the telephone will cause the immediate issuance of an arrest warrant for unpaid taxes.
• Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
• Call a second or third time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.

As we enter tax season the City of Palm Bay Police Department is warning residents against IRS phone scams. (Shutterstock image)

As we enter tax season, the City of Palm Bay Police Department is warning residents against IRS phone scams. (Shutterstock image)

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

• If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on TIGTA’s website,www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.

• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

TIGTA encourages taxpayers to be alert to phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name.

The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media.

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You should forward scam e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. Do not open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

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