Although it's not tax time, scammers are still pretending to be the IRS and threatening to arrest people.
One of our 12 News producers recently received a call with a computerized voice message that began by saying it was from the Internal Revenue Service.
“This is a final notification call to inform you that there is a federal arrest warrant against you and your identity. So, before the warrant gets submitted to your state authorities kindly get back to us,” the message continued.
In reality, it's not the IRS and there is no warrant, because this is all just a scam. It’s part of a series of IRS telephone scams that have bilked more than 5,000 taxpayers out of $26.5 million from October of 2013 through 2016.
“If you were to receive a call completely out of the blue, it's going to be a tax scam,” said IRS spokesperson Bill Brunson.
Brunson said the IRS will never call you and demand money. Plus, it'll never threaten to bring in local police or require a specific payment method.
Just a few months ago, the IRS contracted with four private debt collections agencies to contact delinquent taxpayers. But even if the IRS sends your account to them, you're still going to hear from Uncle Sam first.
“You're going to receive a letter first, in the mail, before a phone call,” Bruson said.
This IRS phone scam is just one of a number of robocall scams that are targeting Americans, particularly millennials. According to TrueCaller, they’re are six times more likely to give away credit card information to scammers than any other age group.
“And this is because millennials spend most of their waking hours on the phone and are a lot more accustomed to sharing information and making payments online or on the phone, said Tom Hsieh, who’s with Truecaller.
But they're certainly not the only ones. TrueCaller reports an estimated one in 10 American adults was ripped off by a phone scam in the last year, costing a total of $9.5 billion dollars.
We tried calling back two numbers the scammers left on our producer’s voicemail. One call wouldn't go through. The other rang for minutes, but no one picked up.