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Sophisticated IRS scam becoming prevalent

The Darien Police Department is alerting residents about a sophisticated phone scam that is targeting taxpayers.

Victims receive a phone call and are told they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service and must pay promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.

During the conversation, the caller obtains the victim's home address. If the victims refuse 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.

After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, the scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or Department of Motor Vehicles, and the caller ID supports their claim.

In a recent incident in Darien, a potential victim was contacted by someone claiming to be a Darien police officer, who threatens arrest. The scam is so complex that the caller ID was "spoofed" and displayed the actual phone number to the Darien Police Department.

The IRS does not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. If someone calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens arrest, deportation or license revocation if payment is not received immediately, that is a sign that the call is bogus. The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

Residents also should know:

scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.

scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling.

scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their calls.

victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

The Police Department warns residents:

if they owe taxes or think they owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS employees can help with a payment issue, if one exists. Read Full Article 

if they don't owe taxes or have no reason to think they do, report the incident to the treasury inspector general for tax administration at 1-800-366-4484.

if they've been targeted by this scam, they should contact the Federal Trade Commission and use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of the complaint.

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