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Alderman Warns Residents About Aggressive Phone Scam

irs-scam-1The latest round of phone scams have hit the area, according to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The scammers are claiming they are with the government and that the people who answer the phone must immediately pay money owed to the IRS with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

The scammers are very aggressive and, when questioned about the phone call, they become belligerent. Victims are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of driver’s or business licenses.

In a statement sent out by Alderman Pat O’Connor, he said, “These scammers sound convincing and may even know a lot about you. They may alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request.”

In some cases, they may send you phony IRS letters by mail or email in an attempt to make you believe the fake call. They may also call back and pretend to be from the local police, FBI or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to convince you that the call is legitimate.

It is important to note that the IRS will never call someone demanding immediate phone payment. If you get a suspicious call and you know you don’t owe taxes, call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 to report the scam. If you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for help.

You should report the call to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Helpline at 1-877-382-4357. You can also visit www.ftc.gov/complaint to report the scam (use the phrase “IRS Telephone Scam” in the comment section.)

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration announced earlier this year that it has received reports of roughly 896,000 contacts since October 2013. Since that time, the government is aware of more than 5,000 victims who have collectively paid more than $26.5 million as a result.

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