IRS scams ongoing in Yavapai County

YCSO reissues warnings due influx of reports

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office is reissuing updated warnings about IRS tax scam calls due to a recent influx of reports within the past few days. Many employees of the Sheriff's Office are receiving the scam calls almost daily, according to a news release from YCSO.

In this scam, the caller impersonates an IRS agent, and either demands money or indicates a tax refund is due as a means to obtain personal information. When the scammers claim an overdue tax payment, they will demand that the taxpayer send cash via prepaid debit cards or ITunes gift cards, according to the news release. The calls are intimidating and convincing because in many instances, the scammers are able to share specific knowledge they have regarding the tax payer's identification.

Some victims are reporting that they have received threats after refusing to cooperate with the scammers. The fake IRS agents claim that a warrant for arrest will be issued, or that local police will be sent to the home if the victim doesn't comply immediately, according to the news release. Neither will ever happen, and YCSO urges the public to report such calls to local law enforcement. The Sheriff's Office also suggests blocking calls from frequently used scammer phone numbers, and deleting voice messages from them. Avoid engaging with these suspects on the phone.

Recently, law enforcement officers from YCSO and the Prescott Valley Police Department have been successful in stopping fraud payments sent from unwitting victims due to early intervention, according the news release. The public is urged to share this information with older family members and friends, as they are generally prime targets of these scammers.

The IRS will never:

• Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

• 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 get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here's what you should do:

• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

• If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov.

• If you've been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov.

The IRS does not use email, text messages, or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue involving bills or refunds. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.

The IRS has a recently published webpage updated with what they call the "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams for 2015. The page also provides contact information to report such scams. The link is here:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Completes-the-Dirty-Dozen-Tax-Scams-for-2015

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