IRS scam resurgence prompts police, BBB warnings - WFSB 3 Connecticut

IRS scam resurgence prompts police, BBB warnings

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)
CROMWELL, CT (WFSB) -

The Better Business Bureau and police are reminding people to be wary of an Internal Revenue Service scam.

Departments across the state, including East Hampton, Norwich and Windsor, said they received reports from residents that an automated phone system has been leaving messages for people to call a number with an out-of-state area code.

The BBB said it has also seen a peak in the number of calls from these suspected scammers. Recipients have reported dozens to the organization.

"We are seeing a spike in the number of calls over the past several weeks from consumers who say [they] are being threatened by the callers, who demand immediate payment by an untraceable method, and threaten them with arrest if they don't,"  said to Connecticut Better Business Bureau spokesman Howard Schwartz.

The callers claim to be from the IRS and tell residents that they owe back taxes. The victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license.

In many cases, the callers become aggressive and insulting.

"The callers try to frighten their victims, and unfortunately, it often works," Schwartz said. "The good news is that the consumers who contact us ignored the callers' demands."

Lorraine Bourassa said she received two calls on her cell phone on Thursday. She knew they were fake but when she called the number back, they tried to pull the same trick.

The person on the other line said “Thank you for calling the Internal Revenue Service. This is officer Allen, how may I help you?" Lorraine said "Hi, this is Lorraine Bourassa. I received a phone call from you and I am returning your phone call.”

The person asked for her social security number and date of birth, but once a Channel 3 reported started talking, saying the call was being recorded, they then hung up.

The calls come from all different parts of the country such as Michigan where the call that went to Bourassa came from.

The IRS said if someone does owe back taxes, they'll first receive a notice in the mail. 

Police warned people not to fall for scam artists on the internet or over the phone.

They said real IRS employees have badge numbers. The recommended asking for the badge number, then calling 800-366-4484 to confirm it.

Police said the caller may even offer a fake badge number beforehand. 

The IRS said people can do the following to avoid being a victim:

  • Call the IRS if a resident thinks or knows they owe taxes - 1-800-829-1040
  • If a resident knows they owe nothing, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484
  • If targeted by a potential scammer, also contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.

The IRS said it does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, social media or text messages to request person or financial information. It also doesn't ask for pin numbers or other confidential access information.

For more information on these type of scams, check out the FTC's infographic here or visit the IRS's website here.

If you suspect an impostor call, you can report the incident by calling 800-366-4484

People can also take a look at the BBB's online scam tracker here.

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