Yavapai County Sheriff Warns Residents About IRS Phone Scams

Recently, a 64-year-old Prescott resident reported the loss of $10,000 in an apparent IRS phone scam. Detectives, working with bank officials, were able to recover the victim’s money and the money was returned. No arrests were made at the time and this part of the investigation continues.

This victim is very fortunate that detectives were able to track and return the stolen money as many of these cases go unsolved due to poor leads.

The Yavapai County Sheriff warns residents to remember that fraud suspects have the ability by computer to generate phone numbers legitimately assigned to government agencies. This prevents the suspect’s actual phone number from being displayed and gives the impression the call is from the government agency represented. Always verify the number and source of the call before conducting any business. In the case of the IRS, they will NEVER call to demand a payment.

The following information is directly from the IRS Website and provides important tips to avoid such scams:

Protect Yourself –

As telephone scams continue across the country, the IRS recently put out a new YouTube video with a renewed warning to taxpayers not to be fooled by imposters posing as tax agency representatives. View the video HERE. The new Tax Scams video describes some basic tips to help protect taxpayers from tax scams.

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you. The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS 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.

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 this website

-If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” – click the “Consumer Complaint” tab on right side portion of the home page.

Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scams” in the search box.

Additional information about tax scams is available here