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Hear it yourself: Scammers posing as IRS agents

Posted: 11:38 AM, Apr 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-14 19:06:00-04
Hear it yourself: Scammers posing as IRS agents

7 Eyewitness News is continuing to hear a number of complaints from viewers about scammers posing as IRS agents and trying to get them to pay large amounts of money.

Just this week, Albion Police issued a warning after the department said many people were called and told they could settle their debt to the IRS by buying iTune cards worth $500.

The IRS advises the public that it will contact individuals first by mail and never demand immediate payment over  the phone.

If you receive one of these calls, you are advised to file a complaint with the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.  You can also file a complaint by clicking on the following link:

https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

What do they sound like?

7 Eyewitness News cameras were present when an intended victim called a scammer back and you can hear how the phony IRS agent ramps up the intimidation - even including a threat of sexual assault.

According to the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, 5,800 people nationwide have been victimized by the scammers and lost $31 million dollars.  New York State is one of the top areas for the scam with California being number one.

Federal agencies have made it a "high-priority" to target the scammers with some now arrested.  Other arrests are expected in the future.

Officials say the best way to handle one of these calls is to hang up without providing any information.

Another scam that is causing concern is one where your identity is stolen and the criminal files a false tax return to get your refund.  Often, you won't know that you have been scammed until your own income tax return is rejected.

The IRS recommends that people apply for a special pin number that will allow only the intended person to file the tax return and keep scammers away from you refund.