AUSTIN (KXAN) — This time of year we all have to find out how much we owe to the IRS. It’s tax season. But the Texas Attorney General issued a warning for the rising number of IRS scams out there. They can call, text, email or direct mail anyone and say they owe back taxes and need to pay. Scammers target elderly Texans the most.
It even happened here at KXAN. A robo-voice left a voicemail on a co-workers phone, saying she owed tax money and was the target of an IRS lawsuit.
Just return the call and someone would stop these problems, the caller advises. The Attorney General’s office has heard it before.
“The IRS is never going to call you and demand immediate payment,” said Assistant Attorney General of Consumer Protection Jacob Petry. He says one of his co-workers was called as well.
He followed it to a local store where the caller asked him to send a $7,000 pre-paid debate card to Oklahoma for a fake lawyer to pay for a fake lawsuit. They violate the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Charges could range from fraud to impersonating a federal agent, misdemeanor to felony. With technology comes a rise in IRS scams. New this year: a barage of text message scams.
“There’s more avenues into someone’s home, into their life. Now with text messaging and things like that, it’s just easier for scammers to get to the people,” said Petry.
He listened to the voicemail we received. In short, it’s bogus.
“The reason people fall for this is you kind of trust the IRS and it’s a little scary when you get a voicemail or phone call like that,” said Petry.
We called the number the voicemail gave, disconnected on the other side. The scam had moved on. The Texas AG says these crimes are difficult to crack because they’re usually based overseas.
If you’ve received – or think you’ve received – one of these calls or scams, the attorney general wants to hear from you.
Also, the IRS has what you need to know these scams on their website.