Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill 20 is reminding Hoosiers to beware of scammers posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents over the phone, demanding money and threatening legal action.
As tax season comes to an end, IRS impostor scams continue to be among the most commonly received complaints at the Office of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD). As of April 17, the CPD had received 467 IRS impostor-related complaints.
The IRS impostor scam occurs when Hoosiers are contacted by someone from an unknown number impersonating an IRS agent. The scammer tells an individual that he or she owes money to the IRS. Often, the scammer knows personal information such as the individual’s name and address – a tactic that makes many believe they are truly talking to an IRS agent. The scammer then demands money and threatens lawsuits or arrest in an attempt to scare the individual into complying.
Hoosiers, particularly elders, too often are tricked into believing these phone calls are legitimate out of a rational fear of being sued or going to jail. Because of this, Hoosiers sometimes comply with scammers and provide sensitive information such as bank account or debit card information — believing they are paying debts to the IRS. In other instances, Hoosiers are told to wire money — or even to purchase gift cards from supermarkets and call the scammers back with the gift card numbers.
Hoosiers need to know the IRS never phones anyone demanding money or payment, nor does the IRS ever call citizens threatening legal action or arrest because of outstanding balances.
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.
Hill reminds Hoosiers: If you don’t know the number calling your phone, don’t answer, and if you receive a call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent, hang up — especially if the person is demanding money and threatening legal action. Further, if the unknown caller leaves a voicemail claiming to be an IRS agent, do not call the number back. If you’re receiving these calls, you can contact the office and file a complaint or call 1-888-834-9969. You can reach the Consumer Protection Division by visiting IndianaConsumer.com or calling 1-800-382-5516.