Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Presley Alerts Public to Phony IRS Telephone Scam

Jackson, Mississippi (December 3, 2014) - Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley wants consumers to be on guard against a serious telephone scam which uses the IRS as bait to obtain money and personal information from victims. The scam calls come from someone claiming that the victim owes money to the IRS and will be arrested, deported, or have a business or driver’s license suspended if they do not immediately pay through a wire transfer or pre-loaded debit card. The IRS does not ask for credit card numbers over the phone or request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

“We have received a large number of calls from people in my District who have been targeted by this scam. To use threats and fear to steal money from victims is nothing more than a mugging by telephone, and it is reprehensible. I hope that by spreading the word on this scam, we can put an end to this,” Presley said.

Presley’s office often receives complaints about telephone scams through its enforcement of the Mississippi No-Call Law. Presley says all information received by his office regarding the IRS Scam will be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to identify the callers. The IRS has provided characteristics of the scam to be on the lookout for:

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.

Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.

Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.

Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

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 DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

Presley advises that anyone receiving a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS who demands money or personal information at the threat of arrest, deportation, or license revocation to report the call to the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484. If the same threat comes via email, forward the email and attachments to phishing.irs.gov.