The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office has been receiving information from concerned citizens regarding suspicious telephone calls. Unsuspecting victims are being contacted by phone and told they owe money to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and that it must be paid or law enforcement action will be taken.
Victims are also being told that the debt must be paid immediately by a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
“People have reported a particularly aggressive phone scam in the last several months,” the IRS warns in an April alert. “Immigrants are frequently targeted. Potential victims are threatened with deportation, arrest, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver’s licenses revoked. Callers are frequently insulting or hostile – apparently to scare their potential victims.”
“This is one of hundreds of scams we deal with on a regular basis,” said Sheriff Jim Manfre. “We want the public to be aware of this scam and remember not to give money or information to anyone over the phone or on the Internet,” he added.
Here are characteristics of the scam, as outlined by the IRS:
Other characteristics of this scam include:
- 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 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 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 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 800/366.4484.
- If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
If you have been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. For more information, visit www.irs.gov.