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Be weary of IRS phone and email scams

Filing deadline is April 18

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 7, 2016) — As the deadline for filing tax returns approaches, Attorney General Andy Beshear is warning Kentuckians to be on alert for phony IRS phone calls and emails.

“If Kentuckians receive calls claiming to be the IRS, hang up,” Beshear said. “The IRS will not call you demanding immediate payment over the phone.”

As part of the scam, Kentuckians might be told they owe taxes by con artists claiming to be IRS officials who are using fake names and IRS identification numbers. The con artists demand victims make tax payments by using credit or debit cards over the phone or by sending the scammers a prepaid debit card. If victims refuse, the scammers often threaten that law enforcement will be contacting them for possible prosecution, arrest or deportation.

“The scammers will use your name and other personal information to make the call sound legitimate,” Beshear said. “If you don’t answer the phone, you may receive urgent ‘callback’ messages through a robocall. This is just another way criminals are targeting Kentuckians, especially our seniors.”

Another scenario scammers use is phishing emails asking for updated personal information in order to make it easier to file a 2016 tax form and quicker to receive a tax payment return.

“The email phishing scam attempts to collect personal information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by linking consumers to a bogus IRS application,” Beshear said. “Do not reply to these emails and always take extra time to research and verify all websites that require your personal information.”

Beshear reminds Kentuckians of these few tips: The IRS will never:

  • Call you demanding immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Require that you pay your taxes only by credit card or prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
  • Email asking for personal information.

Kentuckians should report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 and to the Office of the Attorney General at 888-432-9257. The IRS website also provides a list of current scams that are targeting taxpayers.

To be better protected from telemarketing calls to cell phones, consumers should add their phone number to Kentucky’s No Call List. Victims of identity theft can visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection website for helpful resources, including an identity theft kit.