Taxpayer Scam Threatens Arrest

IRS LogoLess than a week after dozens of Johnston County residents reported receiving jury duty scam calls, dozens of people have now reported receiving IRS scam calls.

Smithfield Police Chief Keith Powell said there has been a dramatic increase in the numbers of people receiving the taxpayer scam calls.  The IRS says scams using their name has increased 400 percent over last year.

In the scam, a person claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service calls and claims they victim owe federal income tax. The caller often becomes more aggressive and in some cases even places a second person on the line who claims to be a supervisor.

They often have the victims home address and social security number.  They threaten to send a law enforcement officer to their home to arrest them for past due taxes unless they make an immediately payment through pre-paid credit cards.

“The number being called from is 740-232-4721,” Captain Powell said. “Please do not send these individuals any money due to the calls are a scam. The IRS will not contact you by phone and request money. They will send certified mail.”

The IRS said they have seen a big increase in the phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.  “Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don’t be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”

“There are many variations. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into making a payment,” Koskinen added. “Some schemes may say you’re entitled to a huge refund. These all add up to trouble. Some simple tips can help protect you.”

Last month, a Johnston County woman fell victim to the scam and lost $1,400.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact US Treasury Inspector General’s Hotline at 800-366-4484.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure.