JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - When a stranger calls, claiming to be with the IRS and demanding you pay up, don't believe them.
Jonesboro police have received numerous calls recently from residents reporting scammers posing as IRS agents have called them demanding immediate payment of bogus tax bills. Some have even threatened to have the citizens arrested.
The calls appear to be originating from different area codes, including Washington, D.C.
The intended victims are told they owe the IRS money and are instructed to pay immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.
If the victims refuse, they are threatened with arrest or suspension of their driver's or business license, said Paul Holmes, public information specialist for the police department.
"Scammers often use fake names and IRS badge numbers," Holmes said. "In some cases they can recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number."
He said they may even call back, pretending to be with the local police.
Holmes listed off the things the IRS does not do:
- Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
- 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.
If you get a phone call or e-mail from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here is what the agency recommends:
- If you know you owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss it.
- If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident at 1-800-366-4484.
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