Attorney General Jon Bruning issued a consumer alert Thursday for Nebraskans to be wary of a nationwide phone scam reported by the IRS as the largest of its kind. Victims have reported threats of driver’s license suspension, arrest and deportation.
“My office has received 20 reports of this scam since January,” said Bruning. “Calls may appear legitimate because the scammer has spoofed an IRS number for caller IDs. And the caller often knows the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number.”
The scammers impersonate Internal Revenue Service agents and demand payment for taxes owed. The scammer may also contact the victim via bogus follow-up emails. If the victim doesn’t quickly comply with demands, fraudsters may make additional calls claiming to be a member of law enforcement or a representative from the Department of Motor Vehicles, also with spoofed caller IDs.
Bruning reminds Nebraskans the IRS usually contacts people by mail, not by phone, about unpaid taxes. In addition, the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, nor will they involve law enforcement or immigration agencies.
If you receive a call demanding payment for an alleged tax debt, don’t give personal information like Social Security numbers or banking information to unsolicited callers, regardless of who they claim to be. Remember, it’s okay to hang up when unsolicited callers request personal information. Verify any alleged tax debt with the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040. Never wire money or send pre-paid debit cards to strangers. Once the money is sent, it is nearly impossible to recover. Report any threats to local law enforcement.