Police warn of IRS phone scam in South Lake Tahoe

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOLO) - The South Lake Tahoe Police Department is warning the community of a telephone scam involving someone claiming to be with the IRS.

The caller informs the victim they have a warrant for their arrest or owe taxes. They then tell the victim they must pay using a pre-paid debit card, credit cards or wire transfer, and threaten those who refuse with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license.

The callers often:
• Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
• May know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.
• Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling.
• Send bogus IRS emails to support their scam.
• Call multiple times claiming to be the police or DMV and caller ID again supports their claim.

The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. The IRS DOES NOT ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card, credit card, or wire transfer.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

• If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
• If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
• You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
• Do not give the callers your personal information.

Also, be alert for phone and email scams that use the IRS name. The IRS will never request personal or financial information by email, texting or any social media. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.