Phone fraud scam targets taxpayers

Taxpayers beware! The Internal Revenue Service reports the largest telephone scam of its kind.{}Taxpayers are getting unsolicited calls from individuals who claim to represent the IRS. The scam has hit{}taxpayers in almost every state.

The callers claim to be from the IRS and tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation, or loss of a business or driver's license.

The IRS usually makes a first contact with a taxpayer by mail - not by phone - about unpaid taxes. The IRS will not ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.

Some tips to consider should you receive a threatening call purportedly from the IRS: The callers use common names and fake IRS{}badge numbers. They typically know the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number. The callers are{}able to make caller ID information appear to show the call is from the IRS, and they{}can send bogus IRS emails to support the scam. Often, they will call a second time, claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles - again with caller ID supporting the claim.

Any taxpayer who receives such a call should do one of the following: (1) If you owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help with payment questions. (2) If you do not owe taxes, call and report the phonecall to the Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration at 800-366-4484. (3) You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in the complaint.