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Groups Alert Consumers to IRS Tax Scam

Watchdog groups are warning consumers about the latest IRS impersonator scam. (Pixabay)
Watchdog groups are warning consumers about the latest IRS impersonator scam. (Pixabay)
June 2, 2016

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Watchdog groups are warning taxpayers about the latest IRS impersonator scam.

Federal regulators report a surge in tax-related fraud schemes, and Ryan Frost, a paralegal with the Wyoming Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit, says thousands of computer-generated phone calls have targeted state residents.

He says the voice on the call typically poses as an IRS or Federal Treasury representative alerting the person to a problem with his or her taxes.

"They're trying to prey on people's fears,” Frost advises. “They'll claim that you owe back taxes or that there was some kind of problem with your tax filing from this year's filing. We've even heard stories where they claim that the cops are actually on their way to your house."

Frost says callers aggressively threaten arrest, court action, confiscation of property, or even deportation unless people make an immediate payment by credit card, wire transfer, or harder to trace options such as gift cards.

Frost warns consumers not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone, especially when you do not generate the call yourself.

He adds actual IRS agents never demand immediate payment, require a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, ask for credit card numbers over the phone or threaten to have people arrested for not paying.

"The truth is that the IRS is not going to call people and threaten them in this manner,” Frost explains. “If there is a problem with your taxes, the IRS is going to send you a letter in the mail. It's not going to come through a prerecorded message that's threatening a lawsuit's being filed or that you're going to be arrested."

AARP has launched a Fraud Watch Network to help protect the public from the scam.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - WY