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IRS warns taxpayers of continuing phone scams

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert Friday with tips to protect taxpayers from telephone scam artists pretending to be with the IRS.

The IRS said these scammers make it look like an official call by using fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers.

The IRS said that these are five things a scammer will do that the IRS wouldn’t:

• Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

• Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

• Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

The IRS also said you should take these steps if you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:

• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.

• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at http://www.tigta.gov.

• If you’ve been targeted by this scam, also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

More information is also available at the IRS website .