Police Urging Residents to be Aware of IRS Phone Scam

The Decatur Police Department has received several inquiries regarding a telephone scam involving persons representing themselves to be employees, agents or officers of the Internal Revenue Service. The call is often a recording indicating that the IRS is actively monitoring the called person’s activities due to pending criminal charges. There are other variations in which the caller may be a live person demanding payment for alleged back taxes, etc.  These callers are very often non-native English speakers.  The numbers can be from anywhere in the United States.  Additionally, scammers may contact persons via email or conventional mail claiming to be from the IRS.

The Decatur Police Department strongly advises citizens not to answer calls from unfamiliar numbers. If you do happen to answer one of these calls, hang up.  The Internal Revenue Service has a helpful webpage, located at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-know-its-really-the-irs-calling-or-knocking-on-your-door with information about how to tell if you’re really dealing with the IRS. For example: 

Note the IRS does not:

  • 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 a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

At the bottom of the web page are links and phone numbers citizens can utilize to report these calls, as well as email scams involving the IRS. The Decatur Police Department does not investigate these types of cases.