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Better Business Bureau seeing uptick in IRS phone scams

DUPONT — It’s one of the "Dirty Dozen" tax scams and it’s making its way across the Pacific Northwest again. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has received several reports of IRS impersonators.

The Internal Revenue Service issued the initial alert in February 2014, as did the Federal Trade Commission. Callers pretend to be from the IRS in hopes of stealing money or identities. Here are some examples of how the scammers attempt to swindle taxpayers.

• Victims are told they owe money to the IRS or are entitled to a huge refund.

• Victims are threatened with arrest or license revocation if they don’t pay.

• The imposters may call back saying they’re from the local police department or motor vehicle division to give validity to the scam.

BBB wants Washingtonians to be aware of the characteristics of a tax scam.

• IRS imposters use fake names and badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

• Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.

• Scammers “spoof” or imitate the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear the IRS is calling.

• Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to victims to support their calls.

• Victims may hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

The IRS will not initiate contact about a tax return processing problem over the phone or by email. The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any taxes due via U.S. mail.

Washingtonians who receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS should hang up and call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. An official representative will address any concerns.

 

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