In the past 2 weeks , the Maine Attorney general and Bureau of Consumer Protection, have issued warnings about these scams.
Callers pretend to represent the IRS. They claim they’re calling because taxes are past due: unless payment is made immediately, the caller threatens to file a lawsuit, seize property, even do them physical harm.
The fake IRS scams usually hit high gear around tax season but this year,however, crooks have been hitting the phone lines pretending to be IRS agents, police officers, court officials and others who might be in the business of collecting delinquent taxes.
Except they are criminals trying to get you to wire them money you can never get back.
As with most scams, the crooks demand that money be sent by wire transfer or prepaid cash cards. Both methods are untraceable and crooks count on that fact in addition to their scare tactics to make their scams work.
Aiding their schemes are electronic tactics, such as spoofing, which makes a phony number appear on caller ID devices. The criminals can make it appear they are calling from an IRS office, when they may be halfway around the world.
The callers can make their threats sound real, but they are as phony as the call itself. The real IRS never cold calls : they always send a letter first on real IRS stationary. They NEVER ask for credit or debit card information or that money be sent by wire transfer.
If you are in doubt, locate the phone number of the real tax office and call to find out if you have taxes that are overdue. Don’t disclose personal information–date of birth, Social Security numbers, credit or bank account numbers to unknown callers: you could become a victim of identity theft.
Report suspicious activity to the BCCP ( 800-332-8529), to an IRS office or to a federal law enforcement officer in Maine or Boston. The anti-scam guide Gone Phishing is available free to Maine residents who call the BCCP at the above phone number or online at CreditMaine.gov