Watch out for phone scam from IRS impersonators

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning residents of a new phone scam that has been targeting taxpayers across the country, with victims receiving threats of license suspension, arrest or deportation if they do not pay taxes they supposedly owe.

Scams involving the IRS aren’t new, but the scammers orchestrating this one appear to have some new tricks to convince people to send them money:

– They often know the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.

– They are able to make it appear on victims’ caller IDs that the IRS is calling.

– They send bogus follow-up emails.

– They will call back victims claiming to be the police or officials from the Department of Motor Vehicles, with their caller ID sign again supporting their claim.

Ferguson’s warning said the IRS usually contacts people by mail, not by phone. The IRS will also not seek payment through pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers, nor will the agency involve law enforcement or immigration officials.

If you or a family member receives one of these calls, your best bet is to hang up, the attorney general said. But if you do get into a conversation, do not give anyone money or credit card information over the phone, and don’t trust callers who use threats or insults to bully you.

Incidents can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

Complaints can also be filed with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.  Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

If you owe or think you owe federal taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify information. For more information, visit www.irs.gov.

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