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6:26 AM Thu, Dec. 13th

IRS warns of new phone scam demanding money

The Internal Revenue Service said it has received reports from around the country of what it called a 'sophisticated" scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants.

Much like the "APS scam" that's hit multiple Prescott-area businesses, a caller tells the victim that they owe money and must pay it immediately of face serious repercussions, such as arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license.

In many cases, the IRS said the caller becomes insulting or hostile.

The caller insists the victim buy a pre-loaded debit card, such as a MoneyPak card, and call back right away with the number.

"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country.  We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves.  Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said. "If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling." Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

Scammers have a variety of kinds of information that make them seem legitimate.

• They may use a fake name and IRS badge number

• They may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number

• They may be able to use technology to make Caller ID show that the IRS is calling

• Sometimes they include sound effects of a call center in the background

• Sometimes they will have a second person call, acting as a police officer or the MVD.

The IRS recommends that victims who are unsure if they owe taxes or know that they don't call 1-900-829-1040 to report the scam.

The real IRS website, www.irs.gov, also has information on scam calls.