POINT PLEASANT — The office of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey reports his office continues to receive a high volume of calls related to the Internal Revenue Service Phone Scam.
On Thursday, at least one person in Mason County phoned the Point Pleasant Register to report they believed they had experienced the phone scam as well.
According to Morrisey’s office, since the scam began, the AG’s Consumer Protection Division has logged thousands of complaints from consumers who have been contacted by a person perpetrating this scam.
Morrisey first sent out a Consumer Alert about this scam on Dec. 16, 2013. A caller will pretend to work for the IRS and threaten the victim with arrest or some other kind of punishment if he or she doesn’t pay a certain sum immediately with a pre-paid debit card or money order.
“These callers claim the person who answered the phone has unpaid taxes that must be paid immediately,” Morrisey said in the alert. “They use aggressive language and threaten everything from jail time to deportation to loss of a driver’s license or business license if the money isn’t paid immediately.”
According to the IRS, the callers who commit fraud often: Use common names and provide fake IRS badge numbers; know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number; make it appear as if the IRS is really calling; send fake IRS emails to support their scam; and call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV to support their claim.
In March 2014, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration announced that this is the “largest scam of its kind” and thousands of victims had already paid more than $1 million to scammers. The callers typically use the same script, which leads these inspectors to believe they may be connected.
As a reminder, the IRS will never initiate contact with you out of the blue via telephone, Morrisey said. Additionally, the IRS will never demand credit or debit card payment over the telephone, or demand that you pay a tax bill in a specific manner.
Morrisey strongly urges all consumers to ignore such calls, do not return voicemails and report any victimization to the U.S. Inspector General’s Office on Tax Administration via http://1.usa.gov/1ClYZbP or via email at Complaints@tigta.treas.gov or firstname.lastname@example.org. Consumers may also call the Internal Revenue Service directly at 1-800-829-1040, report it to the U.S. Treasury Department at 1-800-366-4484 and then call Morrisey’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808.
Information for this article found at http://www.ago.wv.gov.