Live 5 Scambusters: IRS issues new phone scam warning

Live 5 Scambusters: IRS issues new phone scam warning

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The tax deadline is only a few weeks away, but the IRS has a new scam warning.

IRS phone scams never go away, but scam artists have plenty of factors working in their favor at this time of the year.

“Everybody’s got taxes on the brain,” IRS spokesperson Luis Garcia said.

While taxpayers are trying to make sure they have all the necessary paperwork filed on time, scam artists are trying to use any uncertainty against you.

Scammers are now claiming to be from an independent organization within the IRS called the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Phone calls may even spoof numbers from the Taypayer Advocate offices in Houston or Brooklyn. The Taypayer Advocate Service offers assistance in protecting taxpayer rights and resolving IRS problems. Typically, taxpayers would reach out to the organization and not the other way around.

“People who are dealing with the Taxpayer Advocate already know they are dealing with the Taxpayer Advocate,” Garcia said. “They’re not just going to call you out of the blue.”

When trying to determine if a call is a scam or not, the IRS will never:

  • Call you out of the blue.
  • Threaten arrest by local law enforcement.
  • Demand immediate payment over the phone.
  • Ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or gift cards.

If you get one of these calls, report it to the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or online at TIGTA.gov. You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov/complaint.

If you owe taxes or think you might, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

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