CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning citizens to be on guard if they receive a voicemail from someone claiming to be from the IRS and demanding the consumer or the consumer’s lawyer call back as soon as possible to discuss a tax matter.
“Our office has been inundated with calls just this week from consumers who are worried about troubling robocalls and voicemails they have received," Morrisey said in a press release. "The caller says the issue is ‘extremely time sensitive’ and says if the call is not returned all he can do is ‘wish you good luck as the situation unfolds on you.’
"We cannot urge citizens enough to not fall for these scams, no matter how urgent the caller seems to be. These scams are not new, but callers can be very persuasive and intimidating.”
Since November, nearly half of the scam-related complaints filed with the Attorney General’s Office have pertained to either the IRS scam or the grant scam. Just this week, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 150 calls about the scam.
“People obviously become concerned when they hear someone say that they should have their attorney call back," Morrisey said. "But consumers should not fall for these tricks. If you owe taxes, the IRS will never call you and demand payment.
“This is a despicable scam that plays off of citizens’ fear and confusion about the IRS, but this is not how a federal agency works.”
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the callers who commit this fraud often:
- Use common names and provide fake IRS badge numbers.
- Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
- Make it appear as if the IRS is really calling.
- Send fake IRS emails to support their scam.
“While scammers often use high pressure sales tactics to force consumers into bad decisions, the IRS will never make threats of violence or ask you to pay via pre-paid cards or wire transfer,” Morrisey said. “The role of the IRS and collecting taxes that are owed can be a complicated and confusing issue for many people. Scammers will play on that confusion and prey on vulnerable citizens to swindle them out of their hard-earned money."
If someone claiming to be an IRS representative requesting payment contacts you, immediately hang up and call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040