Washington, D.C. (August 2, 2016)
By Michael Cohn
The Internal Revenue Service is seeing a big increase this summer in automated phone calls from con artists pretending to work for the IRS calling innocent taxpayers demanding overdue taxes.
The criminals leave urgent callback requests on voice mail telling taxpayers to call back to settle their “tax bill.” The bogus calls generally purport to be the last warning before the IRS takes legal action against unsuspecting taxpayers. When a victim calls back, the con artists threaten to arrest or deport the taxpayer or revoke their driver’s license if they don’t agree to pay up.
The scammers have increasingly been asking unsuspecting taxpayers to make the payment via iTunes gift cards and similar cards. The IRS pointed out that any request to settle a tax bill by using a gift card is a clear signal of a scam.
“It used to be that most of these bogus calls would come from a live-person,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “Scammers are evolving and using more and more automated calls in an effort to reach the largest number of victims possible. Taxpayers should remain alert for this summer surge of phone scams, and watch for clear warning signs as these scammers change tactics.”