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Avoid falling victim to IRS scams

IRS impersonaters one of top scams during 2015 tax season

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A scam alert for you to be aware of this tax season: criminals impersonating IRS agents.

The scammers are already making phone calls to people, threatening arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things.

This scam is listed in the "dirty dozen" by the IRS, meaning it's one of the top scams for criminals during the 2015 tax season.

News4Jax crime and safety expert, Gil Smith, said the first reason you should be suspicious is because the IRS will never call you.

The IRS will also never:

  • call to demand immediate payment without first mailing you a bill,
  • demand you to pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal what they say you owe,
  • require you to use a specific payment option for your taxes like a pre-paid debit card,
  • ask for credit or debit card number over the phone, or
  • threaten to bring local law enforcement or other enforcement groups to have you arrested for bad taxes.

Smith said those should all be red flags that it is most likely a scammer trying to take advantage of you.

"This scam has been going on for a while now, either through emails or through phone calls trying to get people to send in money, saying they owe taxes and they have to pay immediately. If you know this is fraud, the best thing to do is to contact the Treasury and Inspector General for a tax administrator," said Gil Smith.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.
  • If you've been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.