IRS-Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen of the Newark field office is warning residents of a legitimate-sounding phone scam in which the caller intimidates the victim into making a payment with a pre-loaded debit card or wire service.
Victims are told that they owe money to the IRS. Callers proceed to threaten arrest, deportation or suspension of business or driver's license and often become hostile if the victim does not cooperate.
“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” Larsen said in a release.
If you receive a sudden phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, be on the lookout for the following signs:
- 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 or a 202 area code (Washington, D.C.) 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.
If you know you do not owe money, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or visit the treasury's website.
If you believe you've been a victim of the scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission by visiting its website and filling out the FTC Complaint Assistant form. Include the phrase "IRS telephone scam" in the comments section of the complaint.