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More details into large IRS phone scam targeting taxpayers


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More details into large IRS phone scam targeting taxpayers

By Daniel Gutierrez. CREATED Mar 21, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Contact 13 first warned you Thursday about what's being called the "largest ever" IRS scam. The federal agency said the hoax has led to thousands of taxpayers losing more than $1 million.

A valley woman may have been a target of this scam, "I felt there was something wrong."

Barbara Avery got a disturbing voicemail message on her cell phone about a week ago, "He said, this is the I.R.S. Fraud Division."

He wanted to talk to her about her last tax filing. But he didn't specify what the problem was, and it was the way he ended the call, that really bothered her.

"You need to get back to me as soon as possible, before legal action is taken," said Barbara.

She said that sort of threat, seemed odd coming from an IRS agent, "I had my husband listen to it, and he said no, I don't think it's for real."

She decided to ignore the call. But a couple days later, she got a second message and a third, a couple days after that. So she reached out to Contact 13.

"It bothers me that they would have my cell phone number, know my name, and be calling about something like that," said Barbara.

She said she felt better once we pointed out a couple red flags. First, the IRS won't call you.

"We are not under any circumstances going to call you out of the blue," said Raphael Tulino with the IRS.

He said the agency will always contact you initially by U.S. mail. And that shouldn't be a problem, since Barbara hasn't moved in decades, "I've been here since 1979. So it's not like they wouldn't know where to find me."

The other major red flag is the IRS won't threaten you with legal action. Raphael said that's just a scare tactic used by the scam artist, in order to collect your personal information, or get you to pay a bogus fee.

"There's been a lot of that unfortunately. The evolution of that phone scam is quite pervasive. So be careful and be vigilant with your information," said Raphael.

As for Barbara, she never called the scammer back. And she wants others to know, if you get a call, listen to your gut, "Use common sense."

Here's the Contact 13 bottom line: The IRS warns in some cases, the caller has known the last 4 digits of the victim's social security number. But that doesn't prove they're with the IRS. 

Also, don't be fooled by caller ID that can make it appear as if the IRS is calling. If you're targeted by this or any other tax scam, be sure to report it to the IRS.