Warning: ‘Largest Ever Phone Scam’ is a Real Hang-Up

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — If the phone rings and the caller says he represents the IRS, be suspicious.

That’s the warning from federal authorities, who on Thursday said a nationwide phone scam has stolen $1 million from thousands of unsuspecting people.

Courtesy: Mark Hill/CNN

Courtesy: Mark Hill/CNN

The impostor claims to be an Internal Revenue Service representative and tells “intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” an IRS inspector general office said.

“The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license.”

The IRS has received more than 20,000 reports about the scam.

J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, called it “the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen.”

According to the inspector general, IRS officials typically first reach out by mail rather than phone, and don’t demand immediate payment by debit card, credit card or wire transfer.

The IRS said people who receive such calls or other suspicious requests should contact the IRS.

Tax-related phone scams are among the “dirty dozen” fraud techniques the IRS warned about earlier this tax season. It also warned of phishing emails, preparer fraud and claims a preparer can offer “free money.”

2 comments

  • Kim Supermutt Goodman

    I had a guy with a foreign accent call me about a month ago from a private number. He said he was from the IRS and I had won a drawing for paying my taxes on time, not having any criminal records and for having no bankruptcies. Before he could ask me to send him money, I told him I didn’t pay taxes, I had 6 felonies and I just filed for bankruptcy. He got mad and said, “Fuck You!” then hung up on me.

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