In the midst of tax season, slick scam artists are finding ways to target innocent Coloradans through one of the largest scams of its time: the IRS imposter scam.
This scam occurs when citizens receive aggressive phone calls claiming to be from the IRS. Con artists use fake names and false IRS identification badge numbers in order to appear legitimate. Victims are told that they owe money to the IRS and it must be immediately paid through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
If the innocent party refuses to cooperate, the scam artist becomes hostile and threatens to arrest or deport the victim within 30 minutes or issue a suspension of their driver’s license. In other cases, victims are told that they are eligible for a refund and are tricked into sharing private information. If the victim does not answer the phone, the con artists often leave a threatening “urgent” callback request.
According to the IRS, the agency will not contact citizens and demand immediate payment without a written notice. The contacted party is given the opportunity to dispute the outstanding tax claim and will never be asked to pay the amount owed through a specific means of payment over the phone. The IRS further claims that it will never threaten to bring in law enforcement authorities to have citizens arrested for not complying with an IRS agent.
Remember, it is best not to answer phone calls if you don’t recognize the number calling you. And always remember to verify the identity of someone calling you by contacting that agency directly or by checking with an objective, third-party organization.
If an IRS imposter reaches out to you, it is best to report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or www.tigta.gov. And don’t ever hesitate to call an ElderWatch volunteer specialist at 1-800-222-4444, option 2, to report any concerns..