IRS warns people about new phone scam

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WASHINGTON (WAVY) — The Internal Revenue Service is warning people about a new scam where fraudsters call victims and demand immediate tax payments through a prepaid debit card.

The scammer claims to be from the IRS and says that two certified letters have been sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens to arrest the victim if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card.

The scammer tells the victim that the card is linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), when in fact, they are controlling the card.

The victim is warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or any other officials until after the tax payment is made.

EFTPS is an automated system that allows taxpayers to make federal tax payments online or on the phone using a voice response system. The system is free to use and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card.

This scam has been reported across the country, so taxpayers should be aware of the details.

“Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

“People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”

What to do if you think you are being contacted by a scammer:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.