More than a dozen Nebraskans have fallen victim to a telephone scam where a caller claiming to be with the IRS threatens arrest without immediate payment of taxes and fines.
IRS spokesman Christopher Miller says 14 Nebraskans lost more than $56,000 to the ruse in recent months. Nationwide, the crooks have fooled more than 5,000 people and stolen some $26-million.
Miller says the scam is fairly simple. “Taxpayers get a call from someone pretending to be the IRS. They says the person owes taxes and if they don’t pay immediately by a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer, then they’re threatened with arrest or deportation or loss of their driver’s license,” Miller explains.
He says this type of phone call should immediately raise a red flag. “We will not threaten, or call you out of the blue to demand payment,” Miller says.
Miller says if you get such a call, hang up and don’t engage with the caller. He says you can report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.
A report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says Nebraska ranks #15 on the least-likely to be scammed list with one victim per 130,000 residents.