IRS warns of phone scam

Published 1:41 pm Thursday, July 23, 2015

Area residents have been receiving calls from someone claiming to be the IRS and requesting the individual call the phone number provided or they could face a lawsuit.

The calls are a scam, according to officials with the IRS.

Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer was the target of such a call.

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“Some people are receiving phone calls saying the IRS is preparing to file a civil suit against them,” she said. “If you are not home they leave a number to call. This is a scam.”

On Monday, the IRS issued a press release providing taxpayers with tips on how to identify the scam.

“These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due,” the release said. “Bottom line – they try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the call ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

“They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request.”

The IRS issued five was to identify a possible scam artist, and said the IRS will never:

  • Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say your 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, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue — if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.