BRISTOL, TN – The Bristol Tennessee Police Department has been inundated today, 03-05-16, with complaints from citizens who have been contacted through a phone scam where callers are claiming to be from the IRS telling intended victims they owe taxes which must be paid immediately with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These scammers have threatened those who refuse to pay with arrest. The caller may even know the last four digits of a taxpayer’s social security number, and the calls are usually made from spoofed caller identification software that makes it appear the call is originating from the IRS. Taxpayers have also been victimized by email phishing scams where unsolicited emails which seem to come from the IRS try to trick unsuspecting victims into providing personal and financial information. Note that the IRS will never (1) call to demand immediate payment without first sending a bill and giving the taxpayer the opportunity to file an appeal, (2) require the taxpayer to use a specific method of payment for taxes such as a pre-paid debit card, (3) ask for credit card numbers over the phone, or (4) threaten to bring in the local police to have anyone arrested for non-payment.
The IRS reports there has been a 400% increase in phishing and malware incidents this tax season. There are continual scams that are reported to the police department on an ongoing basis. It is important that the community be aware of the most popularly used scams, how to recognize certain red flags that may indicate possible scams, how to protect themselves from being scammed, and what to do if they are scammed. Particularly during the tax season, Bristol Tennessee Police Department wants to make sure innocent taxpayers are alerted to this scam so they are not harmed by these scammers.
If you have received any calls or emails, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484, the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov using the words “IRS Telephone Scam”, or if you receive an email that is purportedly from the IRS, do not open any attachment or click on any links in the email. Send the email with attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.