Many consumers have received the call. A recorded message from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service or Treasury Department threatens arrest if back taxes are not paid immediately. If you return the call you’ll be instructed to use a money order, wire transfer or prepaid debit card, perhaps even an iTunes gift card, to send your payment. Sometimes the scam message is delivered by email instead of by phone.
Now the scammers are searching for potential victims via a new route: texts. The message begins “WARNING: Criminal Investigation Unit of the I.R.S. is filing lawsuit against you…”. It includes a phone number to call for more information, and continues “This is your last chance… arrest warrant will be forwarded to local police…”.
Regardless of which method scammers use to try to scare you into paying money you don’t owe, remember: government agencies like the I.R.S. would never threaten you with immediate arrest, or demand that you make payment using iTunes gift cards, money orders, or wire transfers.
If you are contacted by an IRS scammer, you can report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online. If you think you may have been a victim of an IRS scammer, file a report with the real I.R.S.