Scammers take no break between tax seasons

By Shelby Mullis
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is urging Hoosiers to stay vigilant when it comes to identifying IRS scams and impersonation.

Despite the end of tax season, the AG Office said consumers are still targeted.

“The IRS impersonation scam is now the most common scam targeting Hoosiers,” said Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “We continue to hear from people every day who get these calls and are often on the verge of sending money to these ruthless fraudsters. The IRS will not call you out of the blue and demand that you pay them money over the phone. They especially will not ask you to pay using prepaid cards, by wiring money or even using their latest tactic – iTunes cards. We need to get the message out that you should never send money or give out personal information on the phone unless you have initiated the contact yourself. Scams are simply too rampant.”

Over the last seven months, nearly 3,000 complaints were filed with the AG office involving more than $30,000 lost to IRS impersonation scams this year.

Here are four common tactics criminals use on the phone that suggest the call is a scam, according to the AG Office:

  1. If a person calls your home or mobile device claiming to be with the IRS demanding immediate payment of past-due taxes.
  2. If the caller uses fear tactics, claiming that you owe tax money and if it is not paid, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
  3. If the caller requests money in the form of pre-paid cards or iTunes cards to pay off your debt. The scammer can retrieve money by using the PIN number from an iTunes card to buy digital content and download it from any location.
  4. If the caller threatens that you will lose your home if the debt is not paid on time.

The AG Office advises people to hang up immediately and resist any engagement with the caller.

“Know that the IRS will always contact consumers first through official correspondence by email,” the office said in an email Wednesday. “Additionally, the IRS will never ask for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone.”

If you receive a call, contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to confirm it was a scam. If it proves to be a scam, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the Federal Trade Commission.

Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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