Snyder warns residents of IRS phone scam

CARMICHAELS, May 11 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, is warning residents of a telephone scam in which taxpayers receive unsolicited calls from people claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment or risk a lawsuit.

"Neighbors and the state Office of Attorney General have alerted me that fraud artists are peppering area residents with calls, trying to scam them out of money," Snyder said. "First and foremost, the IRS does not initiate contact over the phone."

Snyder said anyone who receives a phone call from someone looking to collect money should always be wary, but especially if the caller claims to be from a government agency.

Snyder said that the IRS:

  • Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone;

  • Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations;

  • Never requests immediate payment over the telephone; and

  • Usually provides taxpayers prior notification of IRS enforcement action.

"Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers to deceive and often use common names to identify themselves," Snyder said. "Scammers also may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.

"After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or other authorities," Snyder said. "The ploys are sophisticated, and the caller ID often supports the caller’s claim."

Snyder said that if anyone believes they have been targeted by this scam, they should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the incident at 1-800-366-4484.

Consumers also can file a complaint regarding these or other scams by calling the state Bureau of Consumer Protection’s toll-free helpline number at 1-800-441-2555 or online at www.attorneygeneral.gov.

"Please do not provide any information, especially Social Security numbers," Snyder said. "Please keep your guard up and remember that the IRS is not going to call and ask for money."