Over the past several months, your BBB has taken several calls from concerned citizens who had received calls from supposed government agencies. These calls were coming from Washington D.C. as well as the Los Angeles area, claiming to be with the IRS and the Department of the Treasury. These scammers are actually able to trick the caller ID into making it look like they are calling from these agencies.
Even, on occasion, reciting the citizen’s last four digits of their social security number. The citizens were told by these callers that they owed back taxes, were being investigated for tax fraud or were being investigated for other financial issue. They were then told that they needed to provide their social security number and/or some form of payment to get them out of trouble. Several callers were also told that they were receiving a government grant, and that they needed to provide some form of payment to receive the substantial grant.
Your BBB has these tips to help protect you:
-The IRS or any government agency will never initiate contact with you via phone. You will always receive official correspondence through the mail.
-The US Government does not hand out grants to people that have not applied for them.
-If you receive a call from someone claiming that you were either being given money or that you have won money, but to receive it you either need to pay the taxes directly to them or you need to pay a fee, this is not legitimate. You never have to pay money to get money.
Don’t fall prey to these scams that have already cost US tax payers over $5 million. If you think you’ve been targeted by this scam, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 yourself to confirm it is fraudulent. Then, report the scam to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office by filing a consumer complaint online at www.indianaconsumer.com or calling 1.888.834.9969. You can also report the scam to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484 or go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box to report the incident online. You can also call your Tri-State BBB with any questions that you may have at 812-473-0202.