Be suspicious of IRS phone schemes

NEW YORK (CNN) – Its tax time and you have a lot more to worry about than just paying Uncle Sam. It’s also the season for schemers.

If the phone rings and the caller says he’s from the IRS, be suspicious. That’s the latest warning from federal regulators.

Imposters are calling people across the country, and have already stolen a total of one-million dollars from thousands of Americans.

The IRS says it’s the biggest scheme of its kind. Here’s how it works.

The schemers call people, say they owe taxes and that if they don’t pay with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, they could be arrested, deported, or have their business or driver’s license taken away.

The schemers are focusing on prepaid cards and wire transfers because that means they have cash in hand, almost immediately.

Also, those forms of payment aren’t as protected as credit cards.

Typically, when fraud is reported on a credit card, the issuer refunds the money immediately. Whereas with a debit card, the bank has to do an investigation, and you have to report the fraud within a certain time frame.

One thing to always keep in mind when the IRS is trying to get in touch with you, they usually do it by mail first, not by phone.

The agency never demands immediate payment with a debit or credit card, or wire transfer.

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