Biermaier: The real IRS would never seek private information over the phone

    The Crookston Police Department has received several reports of scams involving people claiming to be from the IRS.  Phone calls, emails and text messages are some of the most common methods the scammers use to make contact with potential victims.  

    The Times has received reports that the callers are particularly aggressive when they alleges that the IRS is suiting the call recipients.

    A variety of reasons for the contacts are being utilized including audits, money owed the IRS, liens on property, etc.

    Here’s what the IRS has to say about calls like this, at irs.gov.:

    “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail.  The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure.  The IRS does not initiate contact with 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 IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.  Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.”

    Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number. Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling. Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls. After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.