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Scam Update from the IRS

The IRS has asked us to share the update below about a recent scam that uses pre-paid credit cards. Like the IRS, the Iowa Department of Revenue will NEVER ask you to satisfy a tax debt by putting money on a pre-paid credit card.  If you get such a call, please report it as directed below.

The Internal Revenue Service NEVER directs taxpayers to put money on a pre-paid card!  (i.e. green dot)

The calls can seem scary and legitimate at the beginning.  They know your name, they know the last 4 digits of your SSN, and they reference a specific amount of money that you owe.  They insist on immediate payment, even threatening arrest if you hang up!  They sometimes keep victims on their cell phone the whole time they are going to the store and buying the pre-paid card!

The latest twist is that they tell victims to show up with payment at a specific IRS office.  It is not the one closest to the victim’s home.  It is often an inconvenient 50 miles away. (Using the IRS office makes this seem more legitimate.)  After the victim acquires the pre-paid card, the scammer  “generously” offers to let them off the hook for the lengthy drive.  They “permit” the victim to settle the debt by giving the scammer the numbers off the back of the card, without having to make the trip to the IRS office.

We continue to hear heartbreaking stories of victims of this impersonation scam.  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is actively following leads and making arrests.  Victims are asked to report the information on-line at:  http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml.

To help the victim insure that they are really talking to TIGTA on follow up calls, taxpayers are asked to choose and memorize their own 5 digit PIN, which they will include when they make their report.  In the event a TIGTA Special Agent contacts them about their complaint, the agent will know the personalized PIN.