Bemidji, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers and recent immigrants about a telephone scam they say has hit every state in the country.
The victims of the phone scam are being told that if they don't pay a certain amount of money right away through a pre–loaded debit card or wire transfer, then they will be either arrested, deported or their business or driver's license will be suspended. This is a scam.
"Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre–paid debit card or wire transfer," IRS Acting Commissioner, Danny Werfel, said.
"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," Werfel added.
The IRS has laid out scam characteristics that you should be aware of:
–"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, the IRS has laid out what you should do:
–"If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. 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 1.800.366.4484.
–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."
The IRS says people should be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure.