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Geoff Greenwood, Communications Director
515-281-6699, geoff.greenwood@iowa.gov
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 5, 2014

Consumer Alert: Miller Warns of IRS Scam

Caller claims taxpayer will be arrested if they donít pay immediately

(DES MOINES, Iowa) Attorney General Tom Miller is warning Iowans about callers who impersonate themselves as IRS agents and threaten victims with arrest if they don’t pay immediately for what the callers claim are back taxes.

“Iowans who have reported this scam to our Consumer Protection Division tell us the callers are very aggressive and use high-pressure scare tactics,” Miller said.  “Callers are threatening to have victims arrested, and we’ve also heard of callers threatening other false penalties, like revoking driver’s licenses.”  The division is currently receiving several reports daily, Miller added.

In cases reported to the Consumer Protection Division, callers demanded immediate payment through a preloaded credit card.  In each case, Iowans refused and hung up.  “That’s exactly how Iowans should handle it,” Miller said.  “The IRS never calls and asks for a credit card number, nor does it demand that taxpayers pay immediately through a prepaid credit card or wire transfer.”

In November, the IRS issued a warning about a similar scam nationwide, including a variation that targeted recent immigrants and threatened victims with deportation.

According to the IRS, the agency generally contacts taxpayers about unpaid taxes through the mail, not by phone.  The IRS never requests personal or financial information by email, text messages, or social media.

IRS advice to those who receive this type of call:

  • If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.  IRS representatives can answer questions about your tax status and payments.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.  Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

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