Sheriff’s department warns of IRS scam

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

The Dubois County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about a possible Internal Revenue Service scam making the rounds.

A deputy received information Monday that a resident received a call from someone posing as an IRS official who claimed the intended victim had a lawsuit against them for unpaid taxes. They were being given information about a number they should call when the male caller abruptly ended the conversation.

The IRS itself is warning consumers to guard against sophisticated and aggressive phone scams targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants. Reported incidents are on the rise nationwide, according to the IRS.

According to the agency, the IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

People have also reported a particularly aggressive phone scam targeting immigrants. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off or having their driver’s licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile -— apparently to scare their potential victims.

Potential victims may be told they are entitled to big refunds, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.

Other characteristics of this scam include:

• Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

• Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.

• Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.

• Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.

• Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

• After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

The sheriff’s department is reminding residents to not give out any personal information or account information over the phone.

Anyone who thinks they may owe taxes can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue if such a need is necessary.

For more information or to report a scam, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.




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