ST. GEORGE – St. George Police are warning of a tax scam Friday that they say is currently affecting Washington County residents. The scam involves criminals posing as the IRS to trick victims out of their money or personal information.
If you or anyone you know has received a call claiming to be from the IRS or from someone demanding money or immediate information, it is a scam, the Police Department said in a media statement issued Friday afternoon.
“Please be very cautious in giving out personal information over the phone, no matter what the caller claims,” the Police Department said.
The IRS continues to warn consumers to guard against scam phone calls from thieves intent on stealing their money or their identity.
“An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country,” according to the Internal Revenue Service website. “Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not.”
The IRS said these callers are con artists and can sound very convincing when they call, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers.
“They may know a lot about their targets,” the IRS said, “and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.”
Victims of these scams 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.
In other incidents, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information with the scammers.
When the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
To avoid being a victim of these scams, it’s important to be aware and note that the IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying
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