The U.S. Treasury is reminding taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to defraud them.
J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says “The scam, which is international in nature, has proven to be the largest scam of its kind that they have ever seen. The callers are aggressive, they are relentless and they are ruthless. “Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash,”
A grass valley woman who doesn’t want to use her name says she got such a call this week.
The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The victim says the caller became so aggressive she acutally considered paying the money.
The woman finally did end the call.
George says his office has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam.
He says, “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and uses threatening language if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,”
People who have been victimized by IRS impersonators can visit the website www.treasury.gov/tigta, or call the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) toll free at 1 800-366-4484.