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News : Phone Scam Hitting East Texas Residents
Tyler, TX, USA, Oct 27, 2015 -- According to the Better Business Bureau, people are falling victim to a recent phone scam by scammers pretending to be IRS agents. Recently, the callers seem to be targeting East Texas residents, as the BBB has received numerous calls Tuesday morning.
These IRS impersonators are calling up their targets, demanding that they pay taxes they don’t even owe, by either loading money on a prepaid card or sending it via a wire transfer. Those who refuse to pay immediately are then threatened by the "IRS agents." The threats include jail time, deportation, or the suspension of the victim’s business or driver’s license.
In order to convince people that they are real IRS agents, the scammers use several tricks including a program to make the IRS’s toll-free number appear on the caller ID, call center background noise, and false agent badge numbers. If the target is not already convinced, several callers are able to report the last four digits of the person’s Social Security number.
"Don’t be pressured into making payments you don’t owe," said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas in a statement. "These callers are using scare tactics to try and catch you off guard."
Follow these tips in order to protect yourself from this IRS scam and others like it:
• Don’t give out your financial information over the phone. The real IRS will not ask for financial information over the phone. All initial contact from the IRS will be through direct mail.
• Hang up the phone. Never trust callers who use threats and hostility to bully their targets into doing what they want. This is a tactic many scammers use.
• If you receive an email, delete it. The IRS will not attempt to contact you through email. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, then it is probably a scam. Emails that scammers send may include computer viruses that could harm your computer or access personal information.
• Report the incident. If you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or online.
To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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More Editorial From Better Business Bureau
About Better Business Bureau:
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on business and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or a donation.
About Internal Revenue Service:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States federal government agency that collects taxes and enforces the internal revenue laws. It is an agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is responsible for interpretation and application of Federal tax law.
Published: Wednesday, October 28, 2015