It's mid-April, and that means in the US we are just now recovering from filing our taxes. Some of us look forward to this time of year for a quick influx of cash, and others dread it because we owe.
Unfortunately, phone scammers know this and they are not above using your tax anxiety to take advantage of you.
Across the country, police departments have been getting reports of unknown callers posing as the IRS or other government agencies calling about past-due taxes. The callers demand payment in full and threaten the victim with imprisonment or deportation if they do not pay up. The callers demand payment in the form of wire transfers or prepaid debit cards, since these are hard to trace. After you send your money, there's almost nothing you can do to get it back.
This scam is easy to guard against, though. You just have to know one simple fact - the IRS will not contact you on the phone or threaten you over your taxes. In the event that the IRS believes you owe taxes, they will contact you by US mail. These letters are sometimes sent certified so they know you received it, but not always.
The important thing to remember here is that legitimate organizations are not going to demand payment through a wire service or prepaid debit card. Those are huge red flags.
If you've received a call like this, it's strongly encouraged that you report it to your local police department.