Scammin’ Time of Year

As tax time approaches, the Corpus Christi Police Dept. is warning taxpayers of an IRS phone scam that circulates during filing season. CCPD regularly receives reports from people who allege they have received calls from scammers impersonating IRS agents.

Although this scam isn’t new CCPD is again warning about this phone scam, stating the agency has seen a surge in reports of threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents.

IRS impersonators make threats of arrest, deportation and license revocation if they don’t receive immediate payment. The scammers then instruct the taxpayer to put money on a prepaid debit card or send payment via wire transfer. The IRS scam is currently trending on the BBB Scam Tracker, an online service that allows consumers to see types of scams being reported throughout the U.S. and read details of the scam. Consumers can view scams by state, by type of scam and dollar amount lost. Consumers can also use BBB Scam Tracker to report scam calls and offers they receive.

CCPD offers this advice to avoid getting scammed:

* Look out for “spoofing”. Part of scammers tactics include spoofing, which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID. Also, the caller might give a badge number and know the last four digits of your Social Security number.

* Write down details. If you do get a call and are unsure, write down the phone number and name of the caller.

* Protect your personal information. Don’t provide any account number or other financial information over the phone.

* Know your rights. The IRS doesn’t request for prepaid debit cards or wire transfer payments, and will not ask for a credit card number over the phone. The IRS contacts taxpayers by mail.

* Don’t be bullied. Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to push you into doing what they want. Be skeptical of what a caller claims he or she can do if you refuse to meet their demand.

* Hang up and report it. If you’re unsure if the call is real, contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. You can also file a complaint with your local BBB, or CCPD