An IRS phone scam has been impacting residents all across Florida and according to the Better Business Bureau, it’s the largest phone scam they’ve ever seen in the U.S. It starts out with a phone call, typically a recording, where you’re told that the IRS is suing you. These calls can take a threatening tone and they can persistent, even shifting to constant emails. These scammers are also becoming more technologically-savy to where they can change the caller ID on your phone to actually read “IRS.”
Just how bad is it? Estimates are that this will cost Americans $4 million. Bryan Oglesby, Director of Business Relations for the BBB of West Florida, joined us on Your Wake Up Call Wednesday morning to talk about the scam and how it’s impacting residents. He gave us some tips for deciphering between phone scams and legitimate calls (you’ll never receive a phone call from the actual IRS) as well as other scams, including crooks posing as debt collectors. He also gave us some resources for reporting these scams and what to do if you think you’ve been scammed.
BBB Tips to Avoid Phone Scams
- Don’t give out your financial information over the phone. The real IRS will not ask for financial information over the phone. And any contact from the IRS will be through direct mail.
- Hang up the phone. If you are being asked for personal or financial information by someone claiming to be an IRS employee, simply hang up.
- If you receive an email, delete it. The IRS will not attempt to contact you through email. If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, then it is probably a scam. Emails that scammers send may include computer viruses that could harm your computer or access personal information.
- Report the incident. If you are a victim of this scam, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or online here.
Your Wake Up Call with Chris Markowski and Jenna Laine airs Monday through Friday, from 6-9 a.m. on AM 820 News in Tampa Bay and AM 1190 News in Orlando.