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.

All Tennessee Counties Meet Aug. 31 Budget Deadline

For the first time in decades all 95 Tennessee counties have adopted their annual budget resolutions by Aug. 31. This achievement means that Tennessee counties are now operating under a locally-adopted budget for the current fiscal year. Tennessee counties are also in full compliance with Public Chapter 170, Acts of 2015. This new law allows counties that do not adopt a ... (click for more)

Food City Pushing Forward On Conversion Of Former Bi-LOs

The conversion of area BI-LO stores to Food City accelerates this week as workers at the four stores in the first phase rush to get their stores ready to reopen. At the Food City store on Dayton Boulevard in Red Bank on Monday , Senior VP Jesse Lewis said that customers can expect hundreds of price reductions.   Mr. Lewis has a Chattanooga history - 25 years ... (click for more)

Developer Says CARTA To Lease 75 Parking Spaces At Renaissance Park Lot For New $14 Million Apartments

A member of the Vision Hospitality Group said Tuesday that CARTA plans to lease 75 spaces at the public parking lot by Renaissance Park for its planned $14 million apartment complex. Drew Hibbard, vice president of finance and investments, told members of the North Chattanooga Council of the Chamber of Commerce that it will be under a 50-year lease with the transit group that ... (click for more)

Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Group Calls For Protection Of Muslims In Tennessee In Light Of Statements By Sheriff Hammond

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Tuesday called on public officials "to act to protect the civil rights of Tennessee’s Muslim community following anti-Islam remarks" by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond. Sheriff Hammond told members of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club on Monday that he ... (click for more)

Sheriff Hammond Is Right On The Muslim Threat - And Response

Sheriff Hammond is exactly correct on the Muslims in Tennessee.  He sees with clear eyes the problem with the Muslims in our state and country.  They do want to take over Tennessee.  Our politicians are selling us down the river and allowing the trouble makers to dig in like tics and suck out the life's blood of our Constitution and take us over.  They ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My September Garden

As we begin the annual pilgrimage into fall, I walk through my garden and, in the spirit of Orchids and Onions, I see colorful mums starting to flower at the same time dried-up weeds are begging to be pulled. So as we turn the calendar to September, here are some things that catch my eye: A COLORFUL MUM to Chattanooga State for unveiling the Michael Hennen Hospitality Center in ... (click for more)