CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The Internal Revenue Service is dealing with telephone scam artists, who have called thousands of people nationwide while pretending to be IRS representatives.
Chesapeake’s David McManus got the call Monday morning on his answering machine: “So the next 24 hours we will be on your assets and your bank accounts, due to your inability to settle your dues with the IRS,” the message said.
McManus felt the call wasn’t right, so he followed his gut. He looked the number up, and it turned out to be a number related to the IRS scam sweeping the country.”We are aware of at least 90,000 complaints nationwide about this scam,” said Dan Boone from the IRS. “We are also aware of about 1,100 victims who have lost about $5 million to these scammers.”
10 On Your Side called the real IRS, who is working to find the people responsible. “The IRS will never call you on taxes you owe without mailing you an official notice,” Boone added. “Do we make calls? Yes, but we always send you a notice in the mail if you owe money and we are trying to collect it from you.”
“We knew if the IRS was to notify you, it would be by letter, but we were worried about elderly people because next [the scammers] would be wanting bank information,” McManus said.
10 On Your Side called the alleged bogus number. We asked if it was a scam, but could never get a straight answer. The caller hung up on us.
McManus wanted to see what would happen if he called back. “At this point in time, the penalty will be $35,000 or five to seven years of jail,” the caller told McManus.
McManus asked who he needed to make payments to. “Sir, if you make a payment for $3,180, our court restitution dealing with tax payment vouchers, you will be free from the charges,” the caller said. When McManus didn’t give up his credit card info, he was hung up on, too.
“You have people out there struggling to make ends meet, and then you got people out there doing that,” McManus said. “It’s terrible.”
The IRS says it’s very hard to track the people making these phone calls. They say to just hang up. Officials suggest blocking the number they are calling from, if possible. You can call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 to report an incident.
The IRS says it won’t call you about taxes without mailing you an official notice first and they won’t demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question the amount they say you owe. You’re not required to use specific payment methods for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card. The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or threaten to call local police to have you arrested for not paying.