IRS fraud alert: Callers demanding thousands of dollars

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A sophisticated new scheme is responsible for taking thousands of dollars out of people’s pockets right here in Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio.  Officials at the IRS want you to know about it so you don’t become a victim.  NewsChannel 15 uncovered everything you need to know about it.

The people who are calling and demanding your money are using technology to trick you into thinking they’re with the IRS.  But, as NewsChannel 15’s Megan Reust discovered, there’s a way for you to outsmart the criminals.

Picture this:  your phone starts to ring, caller ID pops up as the IRS and the person on the line claims to be an agent with the IRS.

“They’ll ask for anywhere from a couple thousand of dollars to several tens of thousands of dollars. Whatever they think they can get out of the victim,” IRS Media Relations Luis Garcia said.

Something officials with the IRS say should raise a red flag.

“The IRS is not going to contact you by phone unless you have a previous relationship where you are already dealing with the debt you owe,” Special Agent with IRS Criminal Investigation Kerry Lynn Hannigan said.

IRS officials say some have hung up, but it’s what happens next that tricks some into giving away their money.

“You’ll get a phone call and it looks, if you have caller ID, as if it’s your local police department calling,” Garcia explained.

The impostor will threaten to haul you off to jail or revoke your license if you don’t pay up.  Something the IRS can’t do.

“That’s ridiculous. It doesn’t work that way. We’re not going to revoke your license. We have nothing to do with your driver’s license.”

Here’s what you should do if you get a suspicious call:

  • Don’t give out personal information.
  • IRS officials say you should hang up immediately.
  • If you think you may owe money call the IRS personally at 800-829-1040

“They will be caught. It’s not a matter of will they be caught. It’s a matter of when they will be caught,” Hannigan said.

There are some simple things you can do so that you won’t get one of these calls.  Safeguard your information.  Never put it online, and always shred personal information before you toss it out.

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