Sunday, February 25 , 2018, 4:43 am | Fair 41º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Police Warn of IRS Impersonation Telephone Scam Active in Area

The Santa Barbara Police Department is warning residents that a pervasive Internal Revenue Service impersonation telephone scam is once again active in this area. Please review the information below from the IRS website regarding this fraud.

IRS-Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information. 

If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) 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 don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do — Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” website to report the incident. You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.

» If you think you may owe taxes — Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number. Call the IRS at 800.829.1040. IRS employees can help you.

— Sgt. Riley Harwood is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

 
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