With the tax filing deadline less than a week away, Kentucky State Police at Post 10 in Harlan are asking residents to be on guard against calls from individuals claiming to be IRS agents attempting to collect unpaid taxes.
Trooper Shane Jacobs, public affairs officer at Post 10 in Harlan, said multiple residents in Knox County have contacted the state police after receiving such calls Thursday.
According to Jacobs, the caller claims to be a federal IRS agent from Washington, DC. The callers then advise the resident that they owe large amounts of unpaid taxes that must be paid immediately.
“The caller(s) are very aggressive when they are questioned and demand that you solve the problem over the phone by paying the named amount,” Jacobs stated. “If you refuse, they will advise you of your (Miranda) rights and you will be told that a federal officer will be sent to your residence with an arrest warrant.
Jacobs said residents should never give out credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone.
Luis Garcia, a spokesperson for the IRS, said while it is not true that the IRS will never call regarding unpaid taxes it is very rare.
“If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, and you are not expecting one, it is probably not us,” Garcia said, noting most of the people contacted by phone by IRS agents typically have already received numerous notices in the mail.
In addition, Garcia said if an IRS agent does call, the agent would first identify his/herself by name and give their badge number. Residents may confirm the identity by calling the IRS Customer Service number at 1-800-829-1040 and providing the badge number to determine if it corresponds with the name the resident was given.
Garcia explained that the scammers are becoming more aggressive. To combat that, he asks residents to remember three things that an actual IRS agent will never do if they call.
• An IRS agent is never going to threaten you with arrest
• An IRS agent is never going to demand payment over the phone through credit card or other electronic means.
• An IRS agent is never going to say that the resident must use a particular method of payment.
In addition, Garcia said for the average taxpayer, arrest because of tax problems is not something to fear.
“The average citizen almost never rises to the point where they face criminal charges from the IRS,” Garcia said. Nobody is going to be slapping handcuffs on you.”
Garcia said while individuals who receive these calls are encouraged to contact local law enforcement, it is the responsibility of the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to investigate.
Reports to the inspector general may be done online at www.tigta.gov or by phone at 800-366-4484.
“We want people to report it because it is the best way for us to learn the latest way of how they are scamming people,” Garcia said.