Florida top target of IRS phone scam

BBB offers tips to avoid becoming a victim.


The Better Business Bureau is warning people about an ongoing IRS phone scam that still continues to con local people.  

Florida is one of the top targets for scammers, according to Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau.

"It's one of the top populous state in the country, the 5th largest state. There are a lot of people and they're playing the odds-- they're playing a numbers game and they just keep dialing for dollar." 

Stephens said the scammers will call you at any time of the day. But, they're more likely to call during the afternoon or evening-- when the chances of someone being home are greater.

The consumers say they have been contacted by someone claiming to be with the IRS, saying they owe money and it must be paid promptly.

"Don't be pressured into making payments you don't owe," said Karen Nalven, President of Better Business Bureau serving West Florida. "These callers are using scare tactics to try and catch you off guard."

Stephens said that one of the biggest red flags is that the IRS will never initiate contact with you by phone or email. The IRS handles everything through the U.S. mail system and if you legitimately have a problem-- you will receive written notification about it in the mail.

Thousands of taxpayers have been the target of these phone calls in the largest-ever phone fraud scam costing Americans $4 million. This phone scam is just one of the techniques scammers use to rip-off unsuspecting consumers.

BBB offered tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Don't give out your financial information over the phone. The real IRS will not ask for financial information over the phone. And any contact from the IRS will be through direct mail.
  • Hang up the phone. If you are being asked for personal or financial information by someone claiming to be an IRS employee, simply hang up.
  • If you receive an email, delete it. The IRS will not attempt to contact you through email. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, then it is probably a scam. Emails that scammers send may include computer viruses that could harm your computer or access personal information.
  • Report the incident. If you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or online at treasury.gov.

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