Uptick in "IRS" phone scams unnerving Hoosiers

Caller claims IRS is filing suit against you

INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s the heart of tax season, and the Indiana Attorney General’s office is seeing an uptick in scammers pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

So far this year, the AG’s office has received 88 complaints from consumers about phony IRS scams.

Joretta Boyd, a senior citizen, living on the south side of Indianapolis, is constantly bugged by robocalls.

On Thursday, her cell phone rang from a 310 area code.

“This time, I noticed it was from California and I don’t know anyone from California, so I just shut it off,” said Boyd. “I was surprised when there was a message.”

The caller pretended to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

“The reason for this call is to inform you the IRS is filing suit against you,” said the caller.

To listen to a typical IRS imposter scam, click HERE

Boyd didn’t fall for it.

She saved the message and filed a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s office.

"I decided it was worth reporting it because if I don't report it to the people who can do something about it, they won't know," said Boyd.

Attorney General Curtis Hill said the IRS imposter phone scam is still popular because people still fall for it.

“Good citizens do not want to be afoul of the IRS, so if someone gets a phone call or a communication from the IRS they want to know what to do to fix it," said Hill.  “It certainly makes sense that the average person would think this is legitimate.”

Hill said it’s nearly impossible to track down or file suit against the people making the phony IRS calls.

“Most of the time these calls aren’t from our local community, our state or even our country,” said Hill. “So our ability to reach out and grab the person and hold them accountable is very difficult at this state of the game.”

Joretta Boyd plans to alert her friends and neighbors that the IRS imposter scam is making the rounds once again.

“The term ‘IRS’ can create a lot of fear in the elderly because they don’t understand a lot of what’s going on and they’re easily confused,” said Boyd. “I’m easily confused, but I knew it was a scam.”

HOW TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM:

  • Do not answer phone calls from numbers you don’t recognize
  • HANG UP!  Talking or pressing buttons will just encourage scammers to keep calling
  • Don’t give out any personal information
  • If you have questions about your status with the IRS, call them directly at 1-800-829-1040
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” webpage. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes

The IRS says they will NEVER:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
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