Jackie StevensJackie Stevens

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Posted 2/23/2018

The 'IRS' has apparently issued a warrant for my arrest

 

CNBC

Jim Pavia11 hrs ago

The Internal Revenue Service has apparently issued an arrest warrant "on my name."

At least that was the ominous message left on my answering machine Wednesday morning. This was the exact message:

"Hello, this call is an official note from IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filling [sic] a lawsuit on your name because you have tried to do a fraud with the IRS and we are taking illegal [sic] action and we are issuing a legal arrest warrant on your name. To get more information regarding this case file, just call us back on our department number, 708-432-8161."

I decided to play along, knowing I would never give these scammers any information. So I called the number, and a person answered. "Hello, IRS," he said. I laughed into the phone and gave him a few choice words that cannot be repeated here. I called back an hour later, and this time I got a recorded message stating that I had reached the IRS.

I started going through a menu of options and was actually transferred to a call center where a man began discussing my "case file" so he could help me avoid a lien being placed on my assets. I asked whom I was speaking with and also pointed out he had no idea whom he was talking to, because he never even asked my name — so how could he possibly know my "case file"?

Without hesitation, he asked me to give him my Social Security number so we could verify it with the one in my "case file." I questioned how the IRS can demand that I pay taxes without giving me the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say that I owe. I then asked him for his name and his IRS identification number. I was disconnected.

I contacted the IRS about the unsolicited call from the scammer who left the threatening message. The IRS representative said that, despite warnings, people still readily give out personal data and fall into the traps of these scammers.

To that point, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports that more than 10,000 victims have collectively paid in excess of $54 million as a result of phone scams since October 2013.

So while it may seem obvious, here goes: Never, ever give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who calls you, claiming to be from the IRS.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that IRS impersonation scams continue year-round and that they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike. These scammers will be aggressive and use threatening phone calls while impersonating IRS agents, and the scams remain a major threat to taxpayers.

Here are some things scammers, but never the IRS, often do. Any one of these four things is a telltale sign of a scam:

1. Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

2. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.

3. Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to IRS.gov and type "scam" in the search box.