IRS phone scam targeting southern Arizonans

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IRS phone scam targeting southern Arizonans

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Jun 10, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Angie Brown says she felt a little nervous the first time she heard the message.

"It made my heart skip a beat a little bit because the person did say that they were from the Internal Revenue Service," she said. "So immediately you're thinking this can't be good."

The message was meant for her elderly mother, who's out of town. Brown says she immediately called the number back and a woman answered saying the call was regarding a "tax issue."

"At that point I said 'how do I know you're from the Internal Revenue Service?' And she hung up the phone," said Brown.

The IRS says this is an "aggressive phone scam" mostly targeting immigrants. The scammers threaten deportation, arrest and even shutting off utilities if they aren't paid immediately.

The Better Business Bureau says for some Southern Arizonans, the scammers threaten lawsuits or legal action and Brown says that was the threat left for her mother.

She saved the message so we could hear for ourselves: "My name is officer [redacted] from Internal Revenue Service, don't disregard this message and do return the call before we take any legal allegation against you."

The message was a recording, including those words and a call back number.

The IRS says these are red flags to look out for:

  • Hostile or insulting callers
  • Fake names and fake IRS badge numbers
  • Background noise to mimic a call
  • Threats of lawsuits, jail time or arrest.

The BBB says this is the largest phone scam targeting taxpayers, capturing more than $1 million nationwide.

The IRS says it will always send taxpayers a written notification through the U.S. mail of any tax due. It will never ask for payment over the phone.

If you received one of these phone calls, first call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 if you think you do owe any taxes.

If you know you don't owe taxes, report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

Also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant and add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports for the evening newscasts.