WASHINGTON – Americans are being warned about a new phone scam that is sweeping the country.
The Internal Revenue Service says people claiming to be IRS agents are calling and demanding payments for fake tax liens.
The callers are using a number with a Washington D.C. area code.
Officials say the number (202) 609-7070 has been listed in several complains this month.
The caller usually has a heavy accent and tells the victim that they owe money to the IRS.
They warn that if you don’t pay immediately, then you will be arrested.
So far, there have been 90,000 complaints about this scam.
Authorities say about 1,000 people have already lost about $5 million.
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
The IRS says if a caller does any of the following things, you should hang up immediately:
- Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
- 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.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you think you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484.
If you’ve been targeted by this scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant.