Attention: There's a new scam phone call on the rise, and this one involves the IRS. Now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people to be on the lookout.
Lately, people have been receiving calls from scam artists claiming to be from the IRS, warning them about outstanding money they owe. One Minnesota man who received a call, named George Mueller, said the person claiming to be an IRS agent actually threatened to arrest him.
"He said, 'Well, within two hours of this phone call, I can call your local sheriff's office and have a warrant for your arrest,'" Mueller said.
According to BBB, Mueller is not alone. As BBB manager Jo Ann Deal explained to KNOE.com, scam calls like this one tend to increase for many people around the time of the holidays.
"Holiday activities lead scammers to think everybody is busy and confused and we just need to get this taken care of, so they tend to want to get it over with, and do what they say," Deal said.
We all know too well how hectic and busy the holiday season can be, but it's important to not fall for tricks like these. Otherwise, you could risk your personal and financial information falling into the very wrong hands. Luckily, Deal has a few helpful tips to spot a phony IRS call like the one Mueller experienced.
How to Spot an IRS Phone Call Scam
Don't be fooled by a caller ID number. A lot of scam artists use them in order to look like real agencies.
Don't comply with any caller who asks for pre-paid credit cards to pay off a balance. This is something the IRS would not ask you for, especially over the phone.
Don't listen to anyone who immediately demands money from you. The IRS never calls people to ask them to make payments in this manner.
Don't be intimidated by a caller that threatens to arrest you. Even if the IRS has suspicious information on a person, they would need to go through a standard legal procedure.
If you do receive a call like this, Deal recommends that you hang up and call the police instead. Good to know — and to make sure all your loved ones know this, too!