The Attorney General of North Carolina asks taxpayers not to respond to the telephone scammers that have already collected over $100,000 from the state’s residents. The scammers use an old, well-known technique – introduce themselves as the IRS Officers and request payments of the tax debt over the phone. If a taxpayer doesn’t pick up the phone, the scammer leaves a message, in which he threatens to issue a warrant to arrest the taxpayer he is trying to contact, and to “take this matter to the federal claim courthouse”. The caller then offers to discuss this matter before going ahead with all actions mentioned above, if the taxpayer calls him back.
Tax scammers are able to change their phone IDs to make it look as if their phone calls are coming from a government agency. They instruct taxpayers to use reloadable debit cards to make payments, which requires buying a card, depositing a certain amount of money on that card, and providing the access information to the criminal over the phone. These instructions alone should immediately raise a red flag – neither the IRS, nor the Departments of Revenue of the US States do this. Real tax collection agents in the US cannot insist that a payment is made over the phone or by using a particular method. In addition, US taxpayers cannot be arrested for refusing to make tax payments over the phone.
If you received a phone call from a person who says that he/she is your IRS Officer, the Attorney General Office of North Carolina recommends visiting your IRS local office or calling the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. This way you can find out whether or not there is a tax debt, and obtain your Revenue Officer’s contact information, if necessary. If you have been contacted by a tax scammer, you are encouraged to report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The phone number for this office is 1-800-366-4484.
In the meantime, people are sharing stories about the received calls. Even some of those individuals who knew it was a scam were still affected, having to explain to their family members that they don’t really owe any taxes, and are not going to be arrested.