Consumer Alert: Avoiding tax scams

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

There are still many people who are falling for fake IRS scams, despite multiple warnings by the IRS to be careful of such cons.

The IRS says that people in the tri-state area lose more than $12 million due to tax scams, which usually come in the form of a fake phone call. The calls often tell the victim that they have committed fraud or owe money and that there is a warrant for the person’s arrest.

New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation for the amount of money lost to scams, at $3 million in loses. New York has the second highest at $7 million. Connecticut residents have lost nearly $2 million due to scams.

“And that's just what victims have come forward and reported. The real numbers are likely higher,” says IRS Special Agent Jonathan Larsen.

The IRS says that there are some ways that people can protect themselves from falling victim to these scams.

Firstly, never pay a fine right away. The real IRS will not demand immediate payment. The agency also never accepts payments in the form of Western Union or gift cards.

Any person who does owe back taxes should hang up the call and call the IRS directly to make payment arrangements.

The IRS also says to hang up if the caller sounds threatening. 

“We would never call and threaten arrest. So immediately hang up the phone. Don't engage these people because you don't know who is on the other end of the line,” Larsen says.

More information about IRS scams can be found at the agency’s website.

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