Beware of aggressive IRS impersonators' telephone scam

Phone bandits in largest scam in IRS history are not giving up

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter

MIAMI - The aggressive Internal Revenue Service impersonators' scam is making its rounds again in South Florida, the Call Christina team reports.

Federal authorities deemed the back-taxes threat as the "largest and most pervasive impersonation scam in the history of the IRS." Last year there were nearly 55,000 complaints. And they estimate it has cost victims at least $20 million since 2013.

IF THE CALL

- Do not provide any information to the caller.

- Hang up immediately.

- Click here to contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the incident.

- Click here to report it to the Federal Trade Commission on FTC.gov and add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

And since people keep falling for it, the calls continue. Conethia McFadden, of Deerfield Beach, said she recently answered a call from an IRS impersonator.  When she realized it was a scam, she confronted the caller.

"They just told me that I needed to pay them and that would be the last call and if I didn't send the money further action would be taken," McFadden said.

McFadden and several other Local 10 News viewers recently reported the suspicious calls from fraudsters demanding payment be made through a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer.

The fraudsters are using "Caller ID Spoofing," a trick to make callers think that the identification device is displaying a call from the IRS. They are also using IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate.  

Authorities believe in many cases, the callers are calling from foreign countries.

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 involve local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

The callers claiming to be IRS employees are using scare tactics that include threats of arrest and deportation. They are copying official IRS letterhead to send falsified forms. And they are demanding immediate payment in both English and Spanish.

Local 10 News Special Projects Editor Ozzy Guerra said an imposter left him a voice mail.

LISTEN TO THIS: Con artist leaves voice mail with fake IRS threats

"They told me that this is a very serious issue and that if I don't pay back the money I could be arrested," Guerra said.

When he contacted the number in the voice mail, he said "a light bulb went off" and the imposter's allegations did not make any sense.

"I started to ask him more questions and he started to get more aggressive," Guerra said.

If the caller alleging to be representing the IRS raises doubts, contact the IRS to verify the claims at  1-800-829-1040.  Victims of the IRS scam should contact authorities immediately.

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