As the 2017 tax season draws to a close, Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian today echoed warnings by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be on alert for scam attempts.
“With April 15 right around the corner, it is likely the number of calls being received by residents from individuals posing as IRS agents – or law enforcement officials collecting on behalf of the IRS – will increase,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “We want residents to be on guard against attempts by scammers to separate them from their hard-earned money.”
IRS scam calls have become more common in recent years, and in the coming days the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) will release its semiannual report of IRS-related scams.
In the most common form of the scam, perpetrators will identify themselves as either IRS agents or members of law enforcement. They will inform the person receiving the call that they have overdue taxes and will demand the bill be paid immediately either though a wire transfer or via a pre-paid debit card. In the event the person refuses to pay, the caller will often threaten arrest. And in some instances, the caller will spoof the telephone numbers of IRS offices or law enforcement agencies, making it appear as if the calls are coming from those entities.
“At no time will a real IRS agent or law enforcement official demand immediate payment or threaten arrest over the phone,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “These are telltale signs of a scam.”
In an effort to add further legitimacy, the caller may touch upon information they have been able to glean from public sources including social media. This could include facts about employment or family, for instance.
Residents who receive scam calls may report them to TIGTA through its IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page (https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml). Losses should also be immediately reported to your local police department.