Attorney General Kane Warns Consumers of IRS Telephone Scam

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced yesterday that her office continues to receive reports from consumers across the state regarding a resurgent telephone scam.

Con artists are using aggressive tactics to convince consumers to provide payment over the telephone for money allegedly owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“Scams like this always pick up around tax season,” Kane said. “Consumers can avoid falling victim to scammers by remembering never to share personal or financial information over the telephone to any unsolicited callers,” said Attorney General Kane. “The IRS sends written notification by mail of any tax due and will not request credit or debit card information over the phone.”

Kane warns consumers to be alert for these troubling calls. The caller may seem legitimate by referencing a consumer’s personal information that is not publicly available, but was most likely obtained by the scammer illegally.

This information may include:

– The last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number.
– Information about the consumer’s family members.
– Spoofing the IRS’s telephone number or even that of law enforcement or other government entities on Caller ID.
– Sending bogus emails that appear to be coming from the IRS.
– The caller may pressure consumers to take action, and may even threaten them with imminent arrest. Attorney General Kane reminds consumers that they should remain calm and hang up the phone. Consumers may then verify their tax status directly with the IRS by calling (800) 829-1040.

Consumers should also report these scams to:

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Hotline
P.O. Box 589 – Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0589
(800) 366-4484

Reports of this type of criminal activity should also be reported to local law enforcement.

According to the IRS, the agency will never:

– Call taxpayers about taxes they owe without first sending an official notice by mail.
– Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount allegedly owed.
– Require taxpayers to use a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
– Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Attorney General Kane reminded consumers never to give sensitive, personal or financial information over the phone, especially in response to an unsolicited telephone call.

Additionally, consumers can avoid becoming a victim of other phone scams by refusing to wire money or to provide information from Green Dot Moneypak or other prepaid cards.

For more information or to report any scam, Attorney General Kane encourages Commonwealth residents to contact her Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555.

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