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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 24, 2014

U.S. Attorney Warns of Phone Scam

Montgomery, Alabama - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama has become aware of a telephone scam in which the caller claims to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representative. The caller will demand immediate payment and seeks to intimidate victims by stating the IRS has charges against them and threatens legal action or arrest. In many cases, the caller will have the victim’s name and may even have a portion of his/her Social Security number.

Taxpayers should be aware that the IRS usually makes initial contact with people by mail, not by phone, about unpaid taxes or other tax issues. This means that if you receive a call about unpaid taxes, it should come after receiving written correspondence from the IRS. Taxpayers should also remember that the IRS does not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, and they will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.

“The volume of complaints received by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s (TIGTA) Complaint Hotline Center about this scam is unprecedented in TIGTA’s 15-year history,” said Timothy P. Camus, TIGTA’s Deputy Inspector General for Investigations. “Since October of last year, we have received more than 225,000 contacts about this scam and reports of over $11 million in losses.”

Camus urged people to stay vigilant and avoid becoming a victim if they receive contact out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the IRS who demands money. “Federal, State and local law enforcement and consumer protection officials are doing an outstanding job educating taxpayers about the scam and encouraging victims to contact TIGTA,” Camus said. “The most effective way for individuals to report scam attempts and losses is by filling out the ‘IRS Impersonation scam’ form on TIGTA’s website, www.treasury.gov/tigta.” When you arrive at TIGTA’s homepage, click on the red button, “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting.”

If you receive a suspicious call and you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. If you do not owe Federal taxes or have no reason to believe you owe any taxes (for example, you have not received a bill or the caller made threats as described above), call and report the incident to TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484.

PRESS CONTACT: Clark Morris
Email: usaalm.press@usdoj.gov
Telephone: (334) 551-1755
Fax: (334) 223-7617

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Updated March 16, 2015