Numerous Geneva residents have reported receiving tax scam phone calls from people identifying themselves as being from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The callers are demanding payment for taxes allegedly owed and asking residents for their personal information. The IRS has provided the following helpful tips on how to handle these telephone calls.
In this scam, the thief poses as the IRS and makes an unsolicited call to his target, telling the victim about taxes owed to the IRS. He demands the victim pay the money immediately with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The caller often threatens the victim with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. Other common scam patterns include:
• Use of common names and fake IRS badge numbers;
• Know the last four digits of the victim’s social security number;
• Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling;
• Send fake IRS emails to support the calls; and
• Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles. The caller ID appears to support their claim.
Residents who receive a call from somebody claiming to represent the IRS asking to pay back taxes should hang up and call the Internal Revenue Service at 800-829-1040 to receive help with any legitimate outstanding tax payment questions.
If a person does not owe taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. Complaints also can be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in the complaint.
Additional tips to prevent falling victim to this scam are:
• Be wary of any unexpected phone or email communication allegedly from the IRS;
• Do not fall for phone or phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. Thieves often pose as the IRS using a fake refund or warnings to pay past-due taxes;
• The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not phone – about unpaid taxes;
• The IRS will not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone;
• The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of e-communication, such as text messages and social media channels.
• The IRS does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential information for credit cards and bank accounts.
The Geneva Police Department and the IRS urge residents to be vigilant against the many different tax scams. For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.IRS.gov.