6 On Your Side Answers: How to avoid IRS phone scams

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The 2014 tax filing season ended a week ago, but that hasn’t stopped con artists from applying their tricks. They’ll try to scare you into believing you owe money.

Phyllis in Knoxville asks: “A friend of mine was called and told if she doesn’t pay her back taxes, she could be arrested. Is this true?”

The Internal Revenue Service is issuing a warning to everyone to be on guard against aggressive and sophisticated phone scam artists trying to trick you into revealing your credit or debit card information.

The Better Business Bureau says a Knoxville woman received one of these calls.

“[It was] an elderly lady, and they told her she owed money and they want her to pay it immediately,” said Jerry Tipton with BBB.

Tipton says the elderly are being targeted.

“They’re easily intimidated. These people are good at intimidating. They threaten you with arrest, cut off your utilities, cancel your driver’s license,” he said, adding it’s happening even though tax season is over. “It will probably happen the rest of the year.”

“If you know you don’t owe taxes, it’s a scam. The IRS is never going to call you. If you owe money, you’ll get a letter saying you owe them money,” he said.

To fool you, the scammers will spoof, or fake, the IRS toll-free number on your caller ID. That way it appears as if it is the IRS calling.

Scammers sometimes may send phony IRS emails to support their bogus calls.

More online: FTC Complaint Assistant

If you think you’ve been targeted by this scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission online, and be sure to add the IRS telephone scam to the comments of your complaint.


You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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