Phony IRS call hitting ND, MN again

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The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota are warning residents of a spike in the number of fake IRS phone calls once again. 

The scammer claims he or she is from the IRS and that the consumer owes a debt which must be paid immediately or an arrest will be made. 

Using high pressure tactics, the scammer tries to get the consumer to pay using prepaid gift cards, credit cards or by giving bank account information. 

The Better Business Bureau notes the IRS will never make such calls or demand immediate payment. 

The IRS communicates primarily through the mail, and all taxpayer have the right to dispute any claimed debt. 

“The timing of these calls is nefarious,” said Susan Adams Loyd, President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Most people have last year’s taxes in the rear-view mirror, so to get a call now saying taxes are still owed, it gets people thinking that maybe they – or their tax preparer – made a mistake. Which is why it’s so important to stay calm, not let yourself be pressured and verify everything that you’re told.” 

In recent years, scammers have turned to robocalls, leaving “urgent” messages for people claiming a tax debt is due. These messages will sometimes even threaten arrest if the recipient doesn’t call back to make a payment. However, robocalls such as these are illegal and the messages left are not legitimate. 

If you receive one of these fraudulent IRS phone calls, BBB recommends you: 

  • Hang up – Don’t provide any information over the phone. Stay calm. 

  • Protect your personal information – Never give out any personal or financial information over the phone. This includes your Social Security number. Remember, taxpayers have rights. 

  • Contact the FTC – File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint. People are encouraged to add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in their complaint. 

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