FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
IRS Scam on the Rise During Tax Season
As we head into the height of tax season, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin is reminding consumers to be aware of the signs of the pervasive “IRS scam,” which continues to target law abiding citizens in Rhode Island and across the nation. Attorney General Kilmartin noted that his office has recently noticed an increase in calls from Rhode Islanders who had been contacted by the scammers posing as IRS agents. The caller typically threatens an individual with arrest for nonpayment of taxes and demands immediate payment over the phone.
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“No other scam has continued to persist for this long of a time period as the IRS scam,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “I am very concerned that individuals may fall victim to the scam between now and the tax filing deadline on April 15th. And, it’s not just phone calls the public needs to worry about; these scammers have upped their communication to unsuspecting taxpayers using text messages and email as a way to back up their bogus phone call threats.”
According the TIGTA, here's what you need to know:
· The IRS generally first contacts people by mail - not by phone - about unpaid taxes.
· The IRS will not ask for payment using a prepaid debit card, a money order, or wire transfer.
· The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.
The callers who commit this fraud often:
· Utilize an automated robocall machine.
· Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
· May know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security Number.
· Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
· Aggressively demand immediate payment to avoid being criminally charged or arrested.
· Claim that hanging up the telephone will cause the immediate issuance of an arrest warrant for unpaid taxes.
· Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
· Call a second or third time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here's what to do:
· If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
· If you do not owe taxes, fill out the "IRS Impersonation scam" form on TIGTA's website, www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
· You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
Public Information Officer
Office of Attorney General
The Honorable Peter F. Kilmartin
150 South Main Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 274-4400 ext. 2234
(401) 952-7726 (cell)