In the throes of tax season, some unfortunately take the opportunity to try and scam people out of their hard-earned money.
Over the past few days, the Mountain View Police Department has received numerous reports from residents concerned about calls they are getting from people claiming to be from the IRS.
In most cases, scammers say people owe money that needs to be immediately using either a prepaid debit card, a money order or a wire transfer. The callers will claim that if they don’t pay, they could face serious consequences, including jail time.
These phone calls are a scam.
According to the IRS, they first contact people by mail about unpaid taxes. If the IRS does call, they will never ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order or wire a transfer. They will also never ask for a credit card number over the phone.
In most cases, according to the IRS, scammers do one or more of the following:
- Utilize an automated robo-call 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.
Should you get a call from someone who says they are from the IRS and they ask for money, follow these tips:
- Hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you with your payment questions.
- If you do not owe taxes, visit www.tigta.gov to fill out an “IRS Impersonation scam” form, or call TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Don’t forget to add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.