Thousands of North Carolinians Receive Scam IRS Call

Thousands of North Carolinians Receive Scam IRS Call

By / State News / Wednesday, 11 November 2015 05:00

IRS Asks People to Report Calls

RALEIGH, N.C. : November 9th, 2015 -   Thousands of people across North Carolina have gotten calls from individuals claiming to be Internal Revenue Service employees, according to the State Bureau of Investigation. The callers claim someone at the residence owes money to the IRS for unpaid taxes. The callers threaten to have the person arrested and taken to jail unless the taxes are paid immediately, often resulting in a credit or debit card transaction over the phone.
The IRS continues to warn consumers to guard against scam phone calls from thieves intent on stealing their money or their identity. Criminals pose as the IRS to trick victims out of their money or personal information. Here are several tips to help you avoid being a victim of these scams:
• Scammers make unsolicited calls. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials.
They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing email.
• Callers try to scare their victims.  Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money.
• Scams use caller ID spoofing.  Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling.
The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
• Cons try new tricks all the time.  Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make.
Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply.
These scams often use official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send to their victims. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
• Scams cost victims over $23 million.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam.
The IRS will not:
• Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
• Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
• Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
• Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
• Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
• Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
•  Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. Now the crooks try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.
Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.
If you have received a scamming call, the IRS requests you fill out the following form on their website:
https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.
According to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's office, more than 500 consumers have reported fraudulent calls to their office in the past week, with many of the reports coming from eastern North Carolina.
The caller usually identifies himself as Steve Martin or David Gray, and many of the calls reported appear to come from the same number:  843-492-4165.
The calls often begin with a pre-recorded message that you’re asked to return. Sometimes the caller says there’s an issue with your pension, and other times he says an action has been filed against you by the US Treasury.
According to Cooper's Office, of the thousands of people that fell prey to the scam in 2014, a Charlotte man lost $16,500, a Fayetteville consumer lost $13,962, a consumer from Wake Forest lost $8,765, a Cary consumer lost $6,824, a Gastonia consumer lost $6,545, and a consumer from Greenville lost $5,381.40.
A total of 1,043 consumers had reported these calls to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division in 2014. That was a substantial increase up from 39 reports in 2013.
Fraudulent calls can be made by criminals anywhere in the world thanks to technology. 
Telemarketing fraud rings frequently use Voice Over Internet Protocol (V.O.I.P) to make their calls harder to trace, and they use technology to make it appear that their calls come from another telephone number, called “spoofing.”
If you have been contacted by a phone scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov.
Sources: NC Dept. of Public Safety, NC Dept. of Justice and the IRS.

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