Attorney General warns consumers of tax phone scams - - Jackson, MS

Attorney General warns consumers of tax phone scams

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Attorney General Jim Hood is once again reminding Mississippi consumers to remain cautious of tax-related phone scams.

Even though the 2015 tax season has ended, these scams continue.

Con artists are impersonating IRS agents when calling and threatening Mississippi consumers. Attorney General Jim Hood warns consumers not to fall victim to these con artists or others like them.

Attorney General Jim Hood says, “The answer is simple for this and other similar phone scams, listen to your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true or is suspicious, don't take the action requested.”

The scam works by the scammer calling and claiming to be an agent for the IRS. The victim is told he or she owes money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, the scammer threatens the victim with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call, using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

The Attorney General's Office offers some information and a few tips to avoid this scam:

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

  •  Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

  •  Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:

  •  If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe the IRS any amount, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

  •  If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration website or at 1-800-366-4484.

Some key tips to remember for this scam and others similar to it:

  •  Do not answer the phone for a number you do not recognize or that shows up as your own.

  •  NEVER wire or send money in any form to persons or organizations you do not know.

  •  Always protect your personally identifiable information. Giving it personal information out could cause you to become a victim of identity theft.

For more educational information on this and other scams, please visit the Consumer section of the Attorney General's website.

Anyone who suspects their personal information has been compromised or thinks they have been a victim of fraud, identity theft or any other should call the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's Office for further assistance and guidance at 1-800-281-4418.

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