IRS phone scam making the rounds

Income tax filing season is here, and that is bringing out the scammers.
Multiple residents of Mt. Orab have received recorded calls that claim to be from the Internal Revenue Service.
The recordings tell the person targeted that they owe money to the IRS, and must send payment immediately to avoid arrest or a court appearance.
“It made me mad to get it, but I know better than to fall for that stuff”, said a Mt. Orab man who didn’t wish to be identified.
“It upsets me that there are people out there who will fall for it.”
Kate Hanson, Public Information Officer with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, said it’s important for consumers to be vigilant.
“The IRS phone scam is one of the most common ones we’ve seen reported in the past few years.  Consumers are often asked to pay by purchasing a gift card and reading the card number over the phone.  That allows the scammer to drain the money on that gift card from whereever they are,” Hanson said.
“We encourage people to be very careful.  If they receive an unexpected threatening call or dealing with someone who refuses to put information in writing, if they are asked to pay immediately over the phone by wire transfer or gift card, those are all danger signs.”
Hanson said that scammers will often leave a phone number for their targets to call back on.
“We also encourage people not to call back the number that’s provided on the suspicious call, but to call the IRS or the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.”
Hanson said that consumers should also be careful about relying too much on caller ID features on telephones.
“Scam artists are able to spoof numbers that appear on caller ID, so they look it’s a local area code number or a Washington, DC area code.  The truth is that the person placing that call could be located anywhere in the world.”
She said that being the victim of a scam can be embarrassing, but that victims should still step forward.
“Scammers are very good at what they do.  They are very pursuasive and scams can happen to anyone.  It is good to report scams as quickly as possible because it helps us to know what scams are happening so we can help warn others,” Hanson said.
Anyone who wishes to report any suspected scam to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office can can the consumer helpline 1-800-282-0515 or log onto www.ohioprotects.org.
The Internal Revenue Service also offers the following advice on avoiding IRS scams at its website, www.irs.gov.
“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:
• 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 you a bill if you owe any taxes.
• Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.”