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Fake vs. real: New IRS scams causing taxpayer confusion

Posted at 5:10 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 13:31:10-05
For years, the IRS has told people that if you owe them money, they will never call you.
 
But according to the Better Business Bureau, there has been a recent change within the agency, and a phone call may now actually be the real deal. 
 
Susann Miller with the Better Business Bureau says know there is added confusion because the IRS has begun making phone calls.
 
"Before we used to say that the IRS isn't going to call you --- well that just changed, so the IRS is now actually hiring debt collectors to call you on their behalf. So that's actually a really big AHA moment."
 
Miller says, if you receive a call from the IRS or someone pretending to be the IRS, ask for a claim number and hang up the phone immediately
 
Then go to IRS.gov to search for a contact and call the number back with the claim number that was given to you. 
 
Scammers are becoming savvy and call victims claiming they're the IRS.  
 
If the victim doesn't pick up, they leave a voicemail that says, "There was a fraud and misconduct on your taxes which you're hiding from the federal government."
 
Followed by, "This needs to be rectified immediately so do return the call as soon as you receive the message."
 
The scammers leave a phone number to call back which is (202) 559-4636.
 
Miller says scammers know zip codes and they do their research ahead of time to make it seem legitimate.
 
"When they call, they give a true sense of urgency that it's you that they're calling for."
 
To add to these calls, scammers are mailing letters which add to the confusion.
 
Miller says, "If it's a letter, don't call the numbers that are on there because you don't know if you're being scammed or not."
 
According to Miller, more than 50 million dollars has been lost because of these scams through phone calls and letters.