IRS scam reported

Published 4:36 pm Saturday, June 20, 2015

EURE – A Gates County woman claims she doesn’t owe the Internal Revenue Service one red dime.

After all, she is totally disabled and has been receiving financial assistance from Social Security for the past 27 years….and that monthly amount is far below the $25,000 of combined taxable annual income that allows an individual to avoid paying federal taxes.

However, those facts have not prevented someone from posing as an IRS agent and attempting to collect federal taxes from the local woman.

She received a phone call on June 10 from a woman regarding the payment of federal income tax. The message (left on the Gates County woman’s answering machine) is as follows:

“This call is officially a final notice from IRS….Internal Revenue Services. The reason for this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department number, 210-390-9420. Thank you.”

“I didn’t call them,” said the local woman whose identity is being withheld in this story. “But things like this worry me, they bother me. I have high blood pressure and I don’t need to get excited.”

She added that this isn’t the first time she has received these types of calls.

“They’ve called before, the other times have been on my cell phone,” she noted. “All of them said the same thing, that the IRS was going to sue me.”

According to the IRS, they always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

IRS officials advise those receiving such calls to not give the person any personal or financial information and jot down any details about the call, to include the caller’s name (if given) and contact information.

A tell-tale sign that the called received by the local woman is how the caller referenced the IRS. The message clearly states Internal Revenue Services…not Internal Revenue Service.

A check of the 210-390-9420 contact info given to the Gates County woman comes back as being one number among many associated with fraudulent telephone calls. Others have reported the same number, saying they were being audited for miscalculations on their taxes for 2008 through 2012, and there was a warrant out for their arrest and a lien placed on their assets. Another report indicated that the IRS was “investigating tax related issues.”

“This is a scam, pure and simple,” said Gates County Sheriff Ed Webb. “We’ve had calls of this nature placed to residents of our county sporadically over the past 12 to 24 months. These calls always seem to target our elderly citizens.

“I would encourage any of our citizens receiving such a call to ignore it and please, please do not give them any personal information, to include bank routing numbers, and do not fall for any ploy that asks you to send them a pre-loaded debit card,” Webb stressed. “Please remember that if you do owe the IRS or have some type of issue with them over your taxes, they do not contact you by telephone. They will send you a certified letter by mail.”

Webb said to call his office at 252-357-0210 and report any such calls.

“There’s not much we can do other than log it and pass the info along to the IRS,” Webb said, “and encourage our citizens not to fall for this scam.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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