Believable scammers use IRS threats in fraud

The IRS only contacts taxpayers through the US mail

Naomi Goad and her friends in Portland, July 2016 (KOIN)
Naomi Goad and her friends in Portland, July 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Naomi Goad said she keeps getting the calls and she knows to hang up. The calls are from scammers pretending to be from the IRS demanding payment for bills not owed.

More than 2000 complaints were registered in Oregon, 100,000 people around the country — and more than $5 million taken.

“They say you owe money and you have to send the money or get arrested,” Goad told KOIN 6 News. But she’s smart enough to just hang up.

“There’s a preconceived notion we are threatening and intmidating and can take away your house and get you arrested or it’s fear,” IRS spokesperson Michelle Burris said. “It’s the government. People don’t understand how we truly operate.”

IRS resources

One of the most common payment methods the scammers demand is gift cards and iTunes cards. The scammers also demand cash be wired.

The IRS never asks for payment that way. Never.

The scammers call “just to verify information.” They may provide a badge number, a location where you have mailed tax returns. Simply hang up and don’t return any emails from them.

US Treasury Fraud Line

You can call the IRS to check if there is a problem with your account. Then you can go to the US Treasury Department’s website to provide information about the call. Treasury finds and convicts scammers.

Burris said the IRS “would never call you under any circumstances without initiating contact with a taxpayer… We always send a letter first.”

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