NORWALK, CONN. -- Phone scams by people falsely claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service are on the rise, say Norwalk police.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts since October 2013. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid more than $23 million as a result of the scams.
Norwalk police are warning the recipients of these calls not to provide any private information over the phone, but to simply hang up.
The real IRS, which says it never asks for credit card information over the phone or demands immediate payment, can be reached by calling (800)-829-1040.
Police are also advising residents to report and such incidents to the Inspector General by calling (800)- 366-4484.
Here are several tips to help you avoid being a victim, police said:
- Scammers make unsolicited calls. Thieves call taxpayers claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
- Callers try to scare their victims. Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying.
- Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
- Cons try new tricks all the time. Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell the victim to mail a receipt for the payment they make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply.
The IRS will never do the following:
- Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
- Demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to appeal.
- Require that you pay your taxes a certain way.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
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