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Police warn of scammers claiming to be from IRS

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By Sara Blankenship

An IRS scam has been circulating in the Twin Counties area, and local police warn residents to use caution.

Galax resident Karen Clark notified The Gazette that she received two phone calls last week from a Washington, D.C. phone number. The calls are a recording that state the individual is being sued by the IRS and they need to return the call to prevent being taken to jail. Clark called the number back only to be put on hold by the person who answered and was then disconnected.

According to Carroll County Sheriff J.B. Gardner, this has been a common complaint in the area. Also, he said that reports of a Publisher’s Clearinghouse scam have been made in the last week. The individuals have been getting phone calls saying that they have won prize money from Publisher’s Clearinghouse in conjunction with Walmart. The calls are asking people for their date of birth and personal banking information to deposit the money.

The IRS is aware of these calls and urges citizens not to acknowledge them. “These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said on IRS.gov. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

Citizens are reminded that the IRS will never contact an individual by phone to discuss private tax matters without first mailing out a bill or statement. They will never require a specific payment method or ask for private information, such as your banking information, over the phone. In addition, they will never threaten police action.

If you receive a phone call that you believe may be an IRS scam, please report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.