How to know if a call from the IRS is a scam

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It’s easy to get confused about taxes, and scammers this season aren’t making it any easier.

Several reports of “Tax Scams” have been reported in Dixon, Illinois, according to the police department.  Scammers have been calling and claiming to be with the IRS.

The scammers’ goal is to get victims to send money through a pre-loaded debit card or a wire transfer by convincing them that they owe money to the IRS, police say.  They also try to get personal information.  If victims don’t cooperate, the scammers reportedly threaten arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

“These criminals can sound convincing when they contact you,” read a statement from the department. “They use fake names and fraudulent IRS identification badge numbers.”

Police say the scammers also have a way to alter caller ID to make it look like the call is legitimately from the IRS.

Related: Scammers using “spoofing” trick to change the number that appears on your caller ID 

Six things the IRS will never do:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  2. Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
  3. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  4. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  5. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone or email.
  6. Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.