IRS scam calls threaten consumers to pay taxes immediately - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

IRS scam calls threaten consumers to pay taxes immediately

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KHQ.COM - BBB has received nearly 10 calls in the past week regarding IRS phone scams circulating in the Spokane and Eastern Washington areas. Even though tax season ended months ago, scammers still claim victims owe money to the government and must pay up immediately or will suffer serious consequences.

A Spokane area resident reported being called repeatedly by a phony FBI representative, claiming that she didn’t fill out forms correctly. They told her if she didn’t give them $3,200 within an hour, she would be put in jail or her children would be taken away from her. Other consumers reported being given similar ultimatums and threats to their safety if they did not pay up.

These IRS/tax-related phone scams are being reported nationwide.

BBB offers the following reminders to safeguard yourself from such predatory tactics:

The IRS always starts with U.S. Mail. If a caller claiming to be an IRS agent notifies you of an outstanding tax debt, but you haven’t received official notification from the IRS through the United States Postal Service, call their bluff. The IRS always starts by sending taxpayers written notification of any tax due via U.S. Mail.

The IRS won’t ask on the phone. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone, so a request from a caller should raise a red flag.

Scammers might have your information. It’s not unusual for scammers to be able to recite the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your address. Be vigilant and remain aware that the IRS does not initiate contact with consumers over the telephone or via email.

Look out for “spoofing.” Part of scammers’ sophisticated tactics include “spoofing,” which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID.

Don’t be bullied. Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. Scams prey on your emotions, so don't let fear get the best of you. Hang up the phone if a scammer gets hostile with you.

Keep your PIN. Another piece of information the IRS will never ask for is a PIN, password or similar confidential access information for credit cards or bank accounts. If a caller asks, don’t give it out.

Call the authorities. If you’re solicited by someone suspicious claiming to be from the IRS, contact law enforcement immediately, then report it to your BBB to help other consumers stay safe as well.

If you or someone you know receives a threatening phone call claiming to be with the US government, report it to your BBB at 509-455-4200 or email info@spokane.bbb.org.

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