The Internal Revenue Service is warning New York City residents of a phone scam targeting taxpayers, especially recent immigrants.
The scammers tell victims that they owe money to the IRS and that it must be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.
If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
“This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country,” IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.”
Werfel said if a caller claiming to be from the IRS threatens arrest or deportation, it is a sign that the person does not actually work for the agency.
Other characteristics of the scam include callers using fake names and IRS badge numbers and managing to use the IRS’ toll-free number on caller ID.
In many cases, the scammers have been able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number and sent bogus IRS emails to support their calls.
In other cases, scammers have hung up and others have called back pretending to be from the local police or DMV to support their claims.
Residents who receive a call from someone claiming to be the IRS should call 800-829-1040 or the treasury inspector general at 800-366-4484.