COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to avoid “IRS imposter scams” as the April 18 tax-filing deadline approaches.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received over 400 reports of the scam in April.
The ploy generally begins with a call claiming to come from the IRS or U.S. Treasury. The consumer is told to call a certain phone number and eventually asked to provide money or personal information to avoid arrest or legal action.
“One of the best things you can do if you get one of these scam calls is to hang up,” DeWine said. “The real IRS won’t demand that you pay right away over the phone or refuse to provide written information.”
Tips to avoid IRS phone scams include:
- Don’t trust threatening callers. If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone who threatens to arrest you for not paying taxes, be very skeptical, especially if you never received any written notice.
- Avoid making payments over the phone. Don’t trust someone who demands that you pay immediately over the phone using a prepaid card or by sending a wire transfer. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists, because the money is hard to recover once it’s sent. The real IRS won’t demand that you pay over the phone using one of these specific methods.
- Don’t respond to illegal robocalls in any way. Don’t interact with the caller, and don’t call a number left on your phone or in a message. Responding to a scam call can result in even more calls because it lets con artists know that your phone number belongs to a real person.
- Don’t always trust caller ID. Scammers may “spoof” a phone number, making the number on your caller ID appear to be from the IRS, even when it’s not. They may make it look like the call is originating from a 202 (Washington D.C.) area code to appear more legitimate.
- Check into call-blocking options. Check with your phone carrier and third-party services to determine whether call-blocking services could help you stop unwanted calls.
IRS or U.S. Treasury impersonation scams can be reported to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.treasury.gov/tigta or 800-366-4484.
Consumers also can contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or call 1-800-282-0515 for help detecting a scam.