CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The IRS calls it the largest phone scam its ever seen. Con-artists posing as agents are demanding money from taxpayers.
According to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration, thousands of victims have lost more than $1 millions dollars from the scam.
The thieves call, saying the victim owes money in taxes, and must pay using a debit or credit card, or wire transfer.
"I have not gotten one of these calls and I hope I don't because it's scary," said Teresa McMullin.
"I don't answer my cell phone or my landline unless I see a name and it's a friend of mine," said Sherry Boyd.
People like Boyd say they take precautions against scams by only answering calls from people they know.
"It is a concern, and I don't like hearing the amount of people that are taken in, but all I can do for myself is don't answer the phone," said Boyd.
"It makes me more skeptical of phone calls," said McMullin.
Other people like Mortina Williams say they think they could spot a phony phone call.
"Because I know the IRS would never call me personally," said Williams.
So what do you need to know? The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration said the IRS:
-will contact you by mail first if you have any unpaid taxes.
-they won't ask for you to pay with a debit card or wire transfer
-they won't ask for credit card information over the phone
-They won’t make threats like deportation, a loss of a driver’s license, or going to jail.
The scammers will usually:
-use common name
- know the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number
-make the caller ID appear it's the IRS calling
-send follow up emails to make their scam seem real
-call as police or authorities threatening arrest if you don’t pay.
If you get a phony phone call, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General 800-366-4484.
If you get a scamming email, forward the email to
. And make sure you don’t open any attachments or links.
This is just one of the top dozen the IRS wants to warn you about.
Here are a few more:
-False promises of “free money” from inflated refunds
-return preparer fraud
-hiding income offshore
-Impersonation of charitable organizations
-False income, expense or exemptions
-Falsely claiming zero wages or using false form 1099
-Abusive tax structures
-Misuse of trusts
You can read more about those scams