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Locals targeted in IRS scam

The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office has received complaints of residents being contacted by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials. The person making the calls is not affiliated with the IRS and the call is a scam. One Crow Wing County reside...

The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office has received complaints of residents being contacted by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials. The person making the calls is not affiliated with the IRS and the call is a scam. One Crow Wing County resident recently was swindled out of $2,000.

The IRS issued the following release this month:

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.

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If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an "urgent" call back request.

The IRS will never:

• Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

• Demand you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

• Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

• Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

• Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Sheriff Todd Dahl recommends any persons receiving these calls hang up immediately and report them to local law enforcement.

Related Topics: CRIME
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