TIGTA Warns Of “Largest Ever” Phone Fraud Scam Targeting Taxpayers

Monday, March 24, 2014
The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration on Monday issued a warning to taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to defraud them.
 
“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Mr. George noted that TIGTA has received reports of over 20,000 contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials.
 
“The increasing number of people receiving these unsolicited calls from individuals who fraudulently claim to represent the IRS is alarming,” he said. “At all times, and particularly during the tax filing season, we want to make sure that innocent taxpayers are alert to this scam so they are not harmed by these criminals,” Mr. George said, adding, “Do not become a victim.”
 
Inspector General George urged taxpayers to heed warnings about the sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, noting that the scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every State in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS 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 truth is the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.
 
“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and uses threatening language if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” he said.
 
The callers who commit this fraud often:
 
• Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
 
• Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number.
 
• Make caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling.
 
• Send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam.
 
• Call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.
 
If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:
 
• If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800 829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
 
• If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800 366-4484.
 
• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
 

TIGTA and the IRS encourage taxpayers to be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, texting or any social media. You should forward scam e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.

Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

Read more about tax scams on the genuine IRS website at www.irs.gov.

CBL Closes Long-Term Fixed-Rate Loan Secured By Ambassador Town Center

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. on Thursday announced that it closed on a non-recourse $47.7 million loan secured by Ambassador Town Center in Lafayette, La. The seven-year loan bears a fixed interest rate of 3.22 percent and was provided by a new institutional lender. Proceeds from the loan were primarily used to retire the existing construction loans with an aggregate balance ... (click for more)

First Tennessee Bank Presents $50,000 Check To Ancla Insurance And Services

First Tennessee Bank’s Chattanooga Community Development Manager Tracee Smith and Cleveland Community President Mike Griffin presented Ancla Insurance and Services President Beth Underwood with a check in the amount of $50,000 at First Tennessee’s downtown office. The funds donated by First Tennessee will be used to enhance Ancla’s onsite computer lab and build on its lifestyle ... (click for more)

Fire Destroys Highway 58 BBQ

A fire destroyed a barbeque restaurant on Highway 58 on Friday afternoon.   Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to the Highway 58 BBQ around 6 p.m. The business is located at 4921 Highway 58. Though the business was housed in a small building, the flames and smoke could be seen from a long distance away.  Captain Teri Rose with Quint 6 said the ... (click for more)

2nd Independent Candidate May Be On Walker County Ballot

A second Independent candidate may be on the ballot for sole commissioner of Walker County in the election on Nov. 8. Perry D. Lamb, Jr. has been working toward collecting the necessary 1,640 signatures of registered voters on a petition. His campaign said he is close to the goal. Incumbent Bebe Heiskell is running an an Independent. Election officials said since she was ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)