WILMINGTON — Clinton County Sheriff Ralph D. Fizer Jr. warned Clinton County residents of recent scams going around Clinton County and the nation where the callers pretend to be Internal Revenue Service agents.
“Aggressive and threatening phone calls are being made to residents of Clinton County by criminals impersonating as IRS agents,” stated a press release from the CCSO. “These impersonators will threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocations and other things. The caller may threaten you with arrest or court action to trick you into sending money to them. They may also state that you are entitled to a huge refund. Rest assured this is not the IRS contacting you over the phone.”
He said scammers demand payment of a tax bill, conning victims into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. “Urgent” callback requests through robo-calls and phishing emails are also common ploys, as is altering caller ID so it appears the IRS or another agency is calling.
“The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate,” Fizer said. “They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.”
The IRS will not demand immediate payment nor call about taxes owed without first mailing you a bill, demand a person pay taxes without giving him or her the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed, require a specific payment method for tax payments, such as a prepaid debit card, ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone nor threaten to involve local law enforcement to have someone arrested for nonpayment.
If you receive a suspicious phone call, “Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately. Contact TIGTA (the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) to report the call” on their webpage, https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/index.shtml, or at 800-366-4484.
Complaints can also be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov, or, if you think you owe taxes, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
The IRS warns citizens to stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure — tax scams can happen any time of the year, not just at tax time.