Mukilteans victimized in IRS telephone scam
Several from Mukilteo have been victims of an IRS telephone scam.
The Mukilteo Police Department has been taking reports in recent weeks of fake phone calls from the IRS.
Many victims say they were threatened with arrest, getting their driver’s licenses revoked, having their utilities shut off – or worse – if they did not immediately pay a fine or a tax debt of thousands of dollars.
“Some victims wired money to these callers, who claim to be from the IRS, only to receive another phone call asking the victim for more money,” Officer Colt Davis said.
Seven residents reportedly got calls from the phony IRS. In three cases, victims wired up to $9,000 to the scammers, while in four other cases the residents realized it was a scam and hung up.
“Tax season just ended and people are getting their taxes audited,” Davis said. “The scam is, ‘We just audited your information and you owe us money.’”
Mukilteo police have been forwarding reports to IRS agents that require follow-up investigation.
The IRS has seen a significant increase in scams targeting taxpayers where scammers telling them they are entitled to big refunds or that they owe money that must be paid promptly through a debit card or wire transfer, according to an agency report.
These scammers are sophisticated and aggressive in what they do: They give fake names and IRS badge numbers, recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number, spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID, mimic sounds of a call center in the background and send bogus IRS emails.
After threatening victims, scammers often hang up and call back pretending to be from the local police department or DMV, to further support their claims. If one threat doesn’t work, they call back again with a different one.
According to an agency report, “The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.”
The IRS also will never contact taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information.
“This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels,” the report said. “The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.”
If you think you have been a victim of an IRS scam, call the Mukilteo Police Department at 425-263-8100 to report it.
Victims can also call the IRS Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. For more information, go to www.irs.gov and type "scam" in the search box.