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Reporting the IRS Phone Scam Helps Catch Scammers

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The Federal Trade Commission investigates and prosecutes people who try to scam money out of consumers. They refer to the scams as Dialing for Dollars because they originate from a phone call. If you were a victim of a phone scam, or you were contacted but did not fall for the scam, contact the FTC to report it. It helps them build the case and track the scammers. This includes the current scam of people representing the IRS for back taxes they claim you owe.

According to the FTC, the scammers originally targeted people with Southeast Asian last names. They have now expanded to those with Indian and Pakistani last names.

If you are contacted, whether you fall for the scam or not, report the following to help the FTC shut them down.

  • How you were initially contacted
  • If by phone, whether it was on a landline or a mobile phone
  • The phone number they left for you to call back, if applicable
  • Their name or badge number, if they gave you one
  • The government Agency they claimed to represent
  • The amount of money they said you owed
  • The method they required you use to pay it (eg. wire transfer, Western Union, MoneyPak reload cards)
  • Anything you can remember about the caller (eg. accent, language spoken)
  • How much money you paid and how you gave it to them (eg. bought reload cards and read off the numbers to them)
  • Keep the reload cards or receipts for money transfers. The numbers could help track the scammers.

Once you have this information, call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 or 1-877-438-4338 (1-877-FTC-HELP).

According to the FTC, if you aren't sure if you are being scammed:

  • The U.S. government never calls and asks for money -- never.
  • The threats the callers make don't happen -- the IRS will never send the police to your house or job, will not make you lose your job, will not foreclose on your house, will not set a court date without your response to a letter and will not deport you. They can't. They don't have the authority.
  • No government agency will require that you pay your debt to them using a prepaid card, even if you do owe back taxes.

For further information on the scam, visit the FTC website at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/dialing-dollars

To report the scam online go to the FTC complaint assistance section https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/GettingStarted?NextQID=258&Url=%23%26panel1-8#crnt and follow the steps to comlplete the form.

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