CHICAGO, March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As federal regulators report a surge in tax-related fraud schemes, the AARP Fraud Watch Network has launched a campaign to help protect consumers from the "IRS impostor scam." Criminals impersonating agents of the Internal Revenue Service represent an escalating threat to taxpayers, according to the IRS. These con artists telephone people and tell them that they are in serious trouble for non-payment of back taxes.
The targets are aggressively threatened with police arrest, court action, confiscation of property, or even deportation unless they make immediate payment—usually via credit card, debit card or wire transfer. The Treasury Department reports that since late 2013 more than 5,500 victims have lost around $29 million in this scam.
"Our goal is to warn consumers and empower them with the knowledge they need to keep themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to IRS impostors," said AARP Illinois Communications Manager Gerardo Cardenas. "Once they recognize certain red flags, they will be better prepared to resist the aggressive bullying and scare tactics used by the scammers."
In response, the AARP Fraud Watch Network is conducting an educational campaign with digital advertising featuring a new tip sheet and online video. The campaign is advising consumers that legitimate IRS representatives do not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment.
- Call you about taxes owed without first having contacted you by mail.
- Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as prepaid debit card or 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.
For additional information about the IRS scam and other tax-related frauds circulating, visit www.aarp.org/FraudWatchNetwork. Consumers who think that they are being targeted by a scam may call the Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360 and speak with a trained counselor.
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SOURCE AARP Illinois