It’s coming up on tax season, and criminals pretending to be the Internal Revenue Service are trying to cheat people out of money with phone and email scams.
Bruce Cable, a certified public accountant in Stateline, recently got a call from the scammers. A man claiming to be with the IRS rattled off a fake badge number and said Cable owed taxes.
“They said they were taking enforcement action against me because I had not responded to a letter they supposedly sent me,” Cable said.
The scammers threatened jail time if Cable didn’t pay up.
Apparently the scammers didn’t know they had called an accountant. When they told Cable he owed taxes from 2006, Cable pulled up his return and saw he had an overpayment that year.
“They said I owed like $9,600 including penalty and interest, but they could do an offer and compromise for an amount, however much I could pay today.”
Cable notified the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office of the call. Deputies confirmed it was a scam, according to Sgt. Pat Brooks.
The IRS has been warning people about phone and email scams. They have been reported in nearly every state.
Victims are told they owe the IRS money and that it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
“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 in a news release about the scams.
Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers is likely to occur through the mail. The agency does not initiate contact by email to request personal or financial information.
“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.”