During tax season, Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking consumers to be on alert for IRS scams targeting Kentuckians, especially seniors, through unsolicited phone calls and emails.
“If Kentuckians receive these calls, hang up. If you receive these phishing emails, do not reply,” Beshear said. “The IRS will never ask you for immediate payment by phone, will never threaten to have you arrested if you don’t pay or email you about updating your personal information.”
As part of the scam, Kentuckians might be told they owe taxes by con artists claiming to be IRS officials who are using fake names and IRS identification numbers. The con artists demand victims make tax payments by using credit or debit cards over the phone or a by sending the scammers a prepaid debit card. If victims refuse, the scammers often threaten that law enforcement will be contacting them for possible prosecution, arrest or deportation.
“The scammers will use your name and other personal information to make the call sound legitimate,” Beshear said. “If you don’t answer the phone, you may receive urgent ‘callback’ messages through a robocall. This is just another way criminals are targeting Kentuckians, especially our seniors.”
Another scenario scammers use is phishing emails asking for updated personal information in order to make it easier to file a 2016 tax form and quicker to receive a tax payment return.
“The email phishing scam is realistic because scammers actually link you to the IRS through their bogus application form after consumers provide all their personal information needed to steal their identity,” Beshear said. “Just do not reply to these emails.”
Beshear reminds Kentuckians of these few tips: The IRS will never:
• Call you demanding immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
• Require that you pay your taxes only by credit card or prepaid debit card.
• Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
• Threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.
• Email asking for personal information.
Kentuckians should report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 and to the Office of the Attorney General at 888-432-9257.
One of the critical missions of the Office of the Attorney General is to help Kentucky families and seniors recognize and avoid scams. Beshear has recently warned consumers of a scam involving phone calls to Kentuckians claiming they had won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, a scam targeting victims of financial fraud and a federal warrant scam.