SCAM ALERT: What to do if you receive an IRS scam phone call - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


SCAM ALERT: What to do if you receive an IRS scam phone call

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People have been calling into the Channel 3 newsroom all week long saying they've been receiving phone calls that are possible IRS scams.

The calls have been targeting the elderly and demanding money even threatening to send that person to jail if they don't pay up.

"Well, it makes me mad. It makes me mad and upset," said Betty Randolph.

Betty Randolph, 89, said she took three calls Tuesday from people claiming to be with the IRS.

"And the reason for the call, they were filing a lawsuit against me and I could call this number," she said.

Randolph knows she doesn't owe any money, so she didn't take the bait.    

"Oh, I just hung up," she said, "Because my son takes care of my taxes and I don't have any problem with that."

But thousands of others have lost money because of similar calls. Since 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) said there have been nearly 100,000 calls with more than 5,000 victims, who have collectively paid more than $26.5 million as a result of the scam.

The IRS says many of the scammers alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS, and use IRS titles and fake badge numbers, and even use victim's name, address and personal information

The Rhea County Sheriff's Department has even put out a warning of its own.

"It might be a smaller number, $65 or $135, and they may think they actually owe," said Rhea County Investigator Rocky Potter.

Channel 3 tried calling three different numbers left by the scammers, but each one has been disconnected.

The IRS wants everyone to know it will never call to demand payment and will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Oftentimes the scammers will threaten you, saying local police will arrest you if you don't pay up, but Investigator Potter tells us that would never happen.

"No, we would not be issuing or swearing out any warrants for an IRS debt," Potter said, "That would be the federal government."

The IRS said if you received one of these calls, this is what you should do:

  •     Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  •     Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  •     Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on Please add "IRS Telephone Scam"       in the notes.
  •     Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.

For more information from the IRS, click here.

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