Contributed By: Jon Freeman

The Internal Revenue Service recently reminded taxpayers to be careful with “aggressive phone scams as criminals pose as IRS agents in hopes of stealing money. These continuing phone calls remain a major threat to taxpayers.”

How Do the Scams Work?

According to the IRS website, the con works something like this, “Con artists make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They convince the victim to send cash, usually through a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card or gift card. Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money. Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.”

Below are things the scammers will often do, but the IRS says they will not do. Taxpayers should remember that any one of these is a likely sign of a scam.

The IRS Will Never:

1. Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
2. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
3. Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

But a phone scammer recently took the prize of tax phone call scammers after trying to scam the Gwinnett County Police Department’s 911 Center earlier this month. Read the article about this story and listen to the audio recording of the 911 phone call by clicking on the link – Gwinnett Daily Post Article & Recording.

Learn more about finances and managing your money by clicking on the link for the Gwinnett County Public Library’s Personal Finance GCPL Guide.