RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - THE FOLLOWING IS A STORY FROM JANUARY 2015 THAT WE ARE REPOSTING BECAUSE OF SEVERAL FRESH PHONE CALLS INTO OUR NEWSROOM FROM PEOPLE RECEIVING IRS SCAM PHONE CALLS.
Tax season is approaching. W-2 forms are going out and what, at this time of year, could be more frightening than a call from the IRS? Scam artists are counting on it.
When Bob Money went home the other day, he found the following message on his phone.
"This message is an attempt to contact you. My name is Steve Martin," the caller says in slightly accented English, "and I'm calling regarding an enforcement action executed by U-S Treasury intending your serious intention......."
The message continues, saying Money was risking being hauled before a U-S Magistrate over some tax issue.
He isn't alone. Karen Shire-Godfrey of TLC Financial in Reno says she heard from seven other people in 24 hours relating the same experience with similar threats. "Things like we're sending the police over or the U-S Marshals are coming over to arrest you," says Shire-Godfrey.
Of course the caller is seeking something else. "They're trying to get information like credit card information to make a payment, like if you pay us now this will go away."
But she says the IRS doesn't do this sort of thing. "They would send you a letter to the address of your last tax return, the address they have of record, letting you know there might be an issue."
And she says you'd have had to ignore a whole stack of them before the tax people made anything remotely resembling this call.
Money recognized the call as a scam he's seen before on our newscasts. He ignored the threats, but he went a little farther.
"I identified the number to a house in East Compton, kind of next to a park." That may not be the actual origin, but he'll be passing along that information to the IRS.
That's exactly what Karen Shire-Godfrey would have advised.
"First of all do not give them any information. Don't confirm who you are. If you are seriously concerned that maybe there is an issue with the IRS, hang up and call the IRS back. The actual IRS, not the number they called you from."
No one we talked with knows of anyone who has fallen for this scam, but clearly some people do because it keeps happening.
If you get one of these calls follow her advice.
Don't give any information, even confirming who you are and let the IRS know.
It's easy to report these scams. We've set up a link for you at right.