IRS phone scam reported in region

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By Staff Reports

The Better Business Bureau alerts Virginia residents that a phone scam involving con artists pretending to be IRS agents is hitting Roanoke and surrounding areas.

The BBB Serving Western Virginia has received dozens of phone calls this week from consumers who received these fraudulent calls.

IRS impersonators are calling and demanding that consumers pay taxes they don’t actually owe and are told to send the funds via a prepaid card or wire transfer.

Anyone who refuses to pay immediately is threatened with jail time, deportation, suspension of business or driver’s licenses, and other threats in an attempt to intimidate and scare them into submission.

The IRS has put out an alert on the scam, saying:

“The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone”

The fake IRS agents have been known to use a computer program to make the real IRS phone number appear on caller ID, quote false badge numbers, and use call centers that use background noise to seem legitimate. The scammers may have the last four digits of a person’s Social Security number among other personal information.

Victims and targets of the scam have reported receiving calls from people claiming to be the police department or Department of Motor Vehicles after refusing to pay.

Pre-paid debit cards, wire transfers, and money orders are no different than sending cash. Anyone who demands these forms of payment should be approached with caution and suspicion, the BBB said. Never use these forms of payment unless you know the receiving party and recognize the risks.

For more information, contact (540) 342-3455 or www.bbb.org.