Local law enforcement continues to receive reports of IRS phone scam

Local law enforcement officials report that they continue to receive reports of residents receiving telephone calls from persons alleging to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Local officials want to remind everyone:
• The IRS will make first contact by mail if taxes are owed, no initial contact is made by phone.
• The IRS never asks for credit, debit or prepaid card information over the phone.
• The IRS never insists that a specific payment method be used to pay any tax owed.
• The IRS never requests immediate payment over the telephone.
• The IRS will not threaten law enforcement action.
• The IRS will not prevent victims from disconnecting from the call to verify the situation.
"There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate.”
Potential phone scam victims may be told that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS or that they are entitled to big refunds. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.
Other characteristics of these scams may include:
• Scammers using 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 is the IRS calling.
• Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS e-mails 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 Department of Motor Vehicles, and the caller ID supports their claim.
Anyone with further questions regarding contact from the IRS or ways to check their tax status is asked to visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov or make contact by phone at 316-651-2102 (Des Moines office). It is asked that this information be shared with family and friends in an effort to combat this continuing scam effort.