FRANKFORT – Attorney General Jack Conway is warning Kentuckians to protect themselves from fraud and be vigilant of phone scams claiming to be associated with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Recently, Attorney General Conway’s Office of Consumer Protection has received calls from consumers who report that they have been contacted by scammers identifying themselves as IRS representatives or “officers.” The scammers are reportedly telling victims they owe money to the IRS. The scammers are also leaving voice messages stating that the victim must take care of a “time-sensitive matter” and return the call, or the IRS will take legal action against the victim. To date, the calls have originated from 415 and 202 area codes.
“If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative from the IRS who is threatening to take legal action against you, that is a strong indicator that it’s not really the IRS,” Attorney General Conway said. “Additionally, when the IRS first contacts a taxpayer, they do so via postal mail, not by phone.”
Oftentimes, scammers participating in this type of scheme use common names and fake IRS badges numbers. They may also demand payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer; however, the IRS doesn’t ask for either of these payment methods, nor will they ask for credit card numbers. Consumers are also encouraged to be vigilant of fake emails that look like legitimate IRS correspondence.
Additionally, Conway and his Office of Consumer Protection recommend the following tips for consumers:
· Don’t provide any account or other personal information. Hang up the phone.
· Never wire money to a person you don’t know. Once you wire money, particularly to a destination out of state or out of county, it is very difficult or impossible to recover the funds.
· If you owe - or think you owe - federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
· Forward emails from the IRS to email@example.com.
Victims and consumers wishing to report phone scams can contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 888-432-9257 or visit ag.ky.gov.
Consumers can also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 877-382-4357 or ftc.gov/complaint.