IRS Warning about tax scam targeting the deaf and hard of hearin - Tucson News Now

IRS Warning about tax scam targeting the deaf and hard of hearing

(Source: AP Graphic) (Source: AP Graphic)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The IRS is issuing a warning about a tax scam that targets the deaf and hard of hearing. The IRS said the scammers are using Video Relay Service to pretend to be a representative from the IRS to try and steal your money.

IRS Special Agent, Brian Watson said the scammers try to use the power of the government as a scare tactic. Since October 2013 the government has documented over $54 million lost in this scheme nationwide.

Watson said the new twist is the fact that the scammers are targeting the deaf. He said criminals can get the caller ID on the Vide Relay Service to say “IRS.” He said people will often panic and pay the money.

“The common theme with this impersonation scam, it’s high pressure and it’s the use of authority. They say you need to pay now or you’re going to be sued, or you’re going to be arrested or you’re going to be deported,” Watson said.

Watson said people will often determine it’s a scam and hang up the phone, but then minutes later they get another phone call.

“The scammers will often make a follow-up phone call to you to the same number and your caller ID might say Pima County Sheriff or Tucson Police Department and they will say we just got the arrest warrant from the IRS. It was faxed over to us and we’re coming over to your house immediately – this is your last chance to pay,” Watson said.

The IRS said do not automatically trust calls just because they are made through VRS. VRS interpreters do not screen calls for validity.

The IRS will never call taxpayers or demand immediate payment.

Deaf and hard of hearing taxpayers who owe taxes or think they might owe taxes should call the IRS at 800-829-1040 through VRS. IRS employees can help with a payment issue or confirm if there really is a tax issue.

Taxpayers can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant. If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

This year’s tax deadline is Tuesday, April 18.

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