CHICAGO, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As tax season enters its final weeks a nationwide phone scam targeting taxpayers has already hit thousands of individuals robbing them of large amounts of money. AARP has issued an alert through its Fraud Watch Network, reminding members and the public to be cautious, protect critical personal information, and immediately report suspicious phone calls.
"The last thing you want to receive is a phone call from the IRS saying you owe money and threatening law enforcement involvement," said AARP Associate State Director Terri Worman. "But the fact of the matter is that these phone calls are fraudulent, aimed at scaring individuals and robbing them of their hard-earned money. Beware and take action!"
According to news reports, more than 20,000 individuals nationwide have been victims of the calls, where scammers impersonate IRS agents, and demand payment for owed taxes. The scammers threaten victims with license suspension, arrest, or even deportation. Often, the scammers know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number, make caller ID appear as if the call is coming from the IRS, send follow-up bogus IRS emails, and make repeated calls.
If you or a loved one receive one of these calls:
-- The IRS usually contacts people by mail not by phone about unpaid taxes; -- The IRS will not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, nor will they involve law enforcement or immigration agencies; -- Best thing to do: Hang up! -- If you get involved in a conversation, do not give anyone money or credit card information over the phone, and do not be intimidated by threats.
-- Immediately report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, by calling toll-free 800-366-4484. -- File an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, adding "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint. -- Stay on top of the news - sign up for AARP's Fraud Watch Network to find out about scams in your community.
SOURCE AARP Illinois