I was able to prevent a person becoming a victim of the IRS scam, before he submitted the demanded payment. It seems the scam has been updated and continues beyond tax season.
In the latest version, a person pretending to be a legitimate IRS employee warned of imminent arrest for non-payment of an outstanding tax liability. A short time later the intended victim received a call from someone pretending to be a law enforcement agent saying IRS had just obtained an arrest warrant and he would be coming to arrest the person unless there was an immediate payment.
The possible victim ignored or did not recognize that IRS never calls demanding payment, but communicates by mail, and that the payment had to be made by gift cards (another tip off this was a scam).
Fortunately, he was directed to me by a friend of his and I was able to convince him this was a scam, explaining all the warning signs, including what I described above.
Also, I received a number of robocalls this week, all asking me if I could hear the speaker clearly.
Knowing this was a possible scam that has been going around I am repeating my warnings to never answer that or a similar question posed by an unknown caller by saying “yes”.
The scam is getting the call recipient to answer “yes” and then using the response as verbal authorization to initiate subscriptions to unordered magazines, sending merchandise that was never ordered and a bill for same, or something similar. When the billing is disputed, the business replays the previous answer as the authorization and refuses to credit the person called.
Simple solution – merely hang up the call without answering the question.
Be cautious, be alert, be aware, and do not be intimidated into becoming another victim!
Walter D. LeVine
Director, Livingston Consumer Affairs Office