Attorney General issues tax-related consumer warning

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JACKSON, Miss. — Tax season may be over, but that hasn’t stopped scammers from trying to use the IRS to get your hard earned money.

Attorney General Jim Hood issued an alert on Tuesday for consumers to be careful of tax-related phone scams.

According to reports, scammers are targeting Mississippi tax payers by impersonating IRS agents and using one of two scenarios.

Some people have reported getting phone calls saying they owned the IRS money, and if they didn’t pay it immediately they will be arrested, deported or their license would be suspended.

The victim would then be told to send the money to the IRS on a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

Consumers have also come into contact with the other scenario recently in which the scammer called and said they were getting a refund.

They then asked for verification information including your private information.

If the phone wasn’t answered, they often times left a message stating it was urgent the person call them back.

The Attorney General said these scammers have become so good, they even change their caller ID to say they are calling from the IRS.

Hood offered the following tips and information to help you avoid this scam:

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment.
  • Demand payment before sending you a bill.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method like a pre-paid debit card.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or have you deported.
  • Ask for credit or debit card information over the phone.
  • Use email, texts or social media to discuss tax issues.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS Agent:

  • If you know you owe money, hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
  • If you know you do not owe any money, hang up and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at http://www.tigta.gov.

Some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t answer the phone for a number you do not recognize.
  • If you do answer, hang up the minute you realize it is a scam.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who calls you and is vague about in identifying themselves.
  • NEVER wire or send money to anyone you don’t know.
  • Always protect your personal information.