HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about a phone scheme that can seem like a legitimate call from the Taxman.
It starts with a phone call: the Caller ID shows an “800” phone number, and “IRS”, just enough to get the attention of most taxpayers–whether you owe taxes or not. On the other end, obnoxious scammers trying to get your money.
Pat Kelly of Hamburg doesn’t owe taxes, but the call did get his attention. His Caller ID indicated the IRS was calling – a trick known as “Caller ID Spoofing” – and when Pat called the toll-free number back, he got an earful from rude, aggressive scammers demanding that he pay up.
The scheme is to get you to wire the money to a fake IRS location, which is untraceable, or give up personal information, such as your bank account or Social Security Number, so Kelly contacted Call 4 Action.
“They said we owed back taxes. They called us deadbeats, they said police would be here in half an hour,” recalled Kelly.
The clincher for Kelly was the thick accent of the callers, a clue the call was a ripoff, “These people are very good at being bad. They are threatening, they are nasty, and it says ‘IRS’ right on the Caller ID. So you have to be wary.”
When Kelly called the IRS to report the scam, he said the agency’s voicemail box was full. An IRS spokesperson told News 4, the agency does not call taxpayers to initiate a collection, you will always be notified first by mail.
The IRS offers tips for handling suspicious phone calls, and advises consumers to report scams posing as government agencies.