IRS phone scam targets Utah residents

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SALT LAKE CITY — Over the past few months, callers posing as IRS employees have been calling Utah residents claiming that they owe the IRS money.

Thus far, residents have been scammed out of at least $28,000 according to the Treasury Inspector General of the Tax Administrator.

The caller typically states, "This is to inform you that we have received a legal petition against your name concerning a tax evasion a tax fraud.”

The “supposed” IRS agent then insists payment of back taxes, requesting credit card information and, in some cases, threatening deportation.

“I think it's important to alert the public that this is happening again, and to not fall prey to those who want to victimize us," Utah Department of Commerce Executive Director Francine Giani said.

IRS phone scams have been occurring for years, however, they are usually more frequent during tax-filing season. So, the timing of this particular scam is unusual.

In one instance, victim Susan Bramble, wife of Utah State Senator Curt Bramble, received four calls attempting to acquire her credit card information. Bramble told the caller, “Sorry, I need to talk to my husband when he gets home,” and then hung up the phone.

5 IRS phony phone call red flags
Below are 5 red flags to be aware of; actions that the Internal Revenue Service would never employ when contacting a citizen about their taxes:
  • Call you regarding owed taxes without first mailing you an official notice.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS claims you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or send money via wire transfer.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Sen. Bramble said, "As a Certified Public Accountant who knows every dime that goes in and out of our accounts, my antenna immediately went up when my wife Susan alerted me to the telephone message."

“Please, please, please do not give any of that personal information out over the telephone to a stranger who you do not know," Giani reminded residents.

California has also been hit hard by this scam, losing millions of dollars.

What to do

If you get a call similar to this, contact the IRS online. Also contact the Utah Department of Commerce by calling 801-530-6701 or visiting its website .


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Keith McCord


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