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Town of Shallotte, NC

Big City Business, Small Town Style

Caution: Don't Fall for the IRS Phone Scam

SHALLOTTE - The Shallotte Police Department urges people to be aware of fraudulent scams. A recent scam making its rounds in the Shallotte area involves a person posing as the IRS.

“Be aware so you don’t become a victim of fraud,” Captain Scott Branning of the Shallotte Police Department said.

Earlier this week, scammers contacted a Shallotte resident. Claiming to work for the legal department of the Federal IRS, the scammer told the victim she owed the IRS money for not paying her taxes. The scammer went on to say that the victim had crimes of theft by deception and intentionally not paying taxes.

The scammer claimed she would help the victim keep the matter from going to court if the victim would go to the bank and withdrawal $3,000. The victim was instructed to purchase five Reload Cards in the amount of $500 and one for $70 and to give the caller the card numbers.

“A lot of phone scams are similar. They tell you to purchase Reload cards or to make money transfers,” Branning said. “Don’t do it.”

Branning said the IRS will never ask you to pay for past due taxes in this manner. According to the IRS, this isn’t a new scam and it has hit nearly every state in the country.

The IRS says victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation, license revocation or suspension of a business license.

“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,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel in a 2013 press release on www.irs.gov.

Werfel went on to say the IRS would not call and threaten with arrest, deportation or license revocations. He said this is a clear sign that the phone call is a scam. He said the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.

  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that the IRS does NOT initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does NOT ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.

For more information on how to protect yourself from an IRS scam, visit www.irs.gov.