State issues phone scam alert: Caller claims to be from IRS
The Department of Consumer Protection and Office of the Attorney General continue to receive complaints and inquiries from consumers worried about telephone calls in which the caller claims to be an official from the IRS and attempts to solicit tax payments. These calls are bogus and can be ignored, or reported to the federal Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, State officials said.
“Consumers can rest easy knowing that while these calls are an annoyance, there is no truth to them. It’s important to share this message with all members of your household who may answer the phone to one of these troubling or threatening calls,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said today. “Government agencies – including the FBI and the IRS – do not call people on the phone or send emails to demand money or threaten arrest.”
“This is a pervasive scam that has been described as particularly aggressive," Attorney General George Jepsen said. “No matter what the caller may threaten or say, never send them money. The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due through the U.S. mail, not through an unsolicited phone call. If you or a family member get this call, hang up, and then report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration."
The IRS scam has proliferated nationwide in recent years, prompting the federal office to create a special website for reporting these calls: www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml
In April of this year, Commissioner Rubenstein, Attorney General Jepsen and Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Kevin Sullivan warned consumers about a rash of similar scam phone calls, which were particularly aggressive. The scammers told potential victims that money owed to the IRS needed to be paid immediately that consumers faced arrest if they did not pay.
“Recently we’ve been told that in some cases, the callers have identifying information about their potential victim, such as the last four digits of a Social Security number, or part of a bank account number, but don’t let this convince you the call is real,” Rubenstein said. “Identity thieves gather partial information and try to use it to their advantage. Even if their information is convincing, do not give in to any request for immediate payment.”
The IRS advises to do the following if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:
· 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 number can help you with a payment issue -- if there really is an issue.
· If you know you don't owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you owe, you may report the incident to the Treasure Inspector General for Tax Administration at the website given above.
· If you've been targeted by this scam, you may also file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov, and add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Consumers with questions can contact the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Unit at 860-808-5420, or the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649.