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IRS warns of back-to-school scam targeting parents

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 19:27:14-04

DENVER -- The latest tax-related scams going around are targeting parents and students getting ready for back-to-school.

The Internal Revenue Service says the scammers call the victims and demand payment for nonexistent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”

The scammers claim to be IRS employees and demand the money be wired. If the person does not comply, the scammer becomes aggressive and threatens to report the student to the police to be arrested.

If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the telltale signs to help protect yourself.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in your voicemail asking you to call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
  • Report the call to proper channels. Use this phone number's “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
  • If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

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