IRS scammers finding new ways to steal information, money

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The IRS scam is still going strong, fueled in part, by changes con artists are making to their approach.

Sue McConnell from Cleveland`s Better Business Bureau is warning taxpayers to be on guard and it’s not the first time.

She was warning consumers when Rosa Hammonds  complained back in 2014 and when Melissa Jones was victimized by an IRS scamming identity thief in 2012.

More recently a member of the Fox 8 news family received this voicemail on his cell phone.

"The reason for this call is to inform you the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you," said the automated voice.

“The IRS scams are not unusual,” McConnell told Lorrie Taylor.

Threats of arrest unless immediate payment is made using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer, but the latest trick being played is the use of a polite phone call.

“Now they have this new twist where they`re asking you to confirm your social security number or your bank account number claiming that we have your tax return,” said McConnell, “And before we can provide your refund we need you to confirm this information for us.”

McConnell said the IRS would never make first contact by way of phone, nor would agents demand payment from taxpayers until they've first been given an opportunity to question or appeal an amount that’s due.

But McConnell warned there was a big change coming to the way the Internal Revenue Service reaches out to consumers who owe money; the agency is gearing up to use debt collectors.

So for all the times we've said the IRS will never call you, they're about to start calling.

"They're going to have collection agencies calling, right," replied McConnell.

However, McConnell said those calls would not be made until taxpayers have been contacted in writing and given every opportunity to pay.

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