HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – Tax season is right around the corner and scammers are already trying to take advantage of consumers by impersonating Internal Revenue Service agents.
Cheryl Singh got a phone call from a con artist claiming he was with the IRS. Singh was told by the caller she was in trouble.
“(I was told) there was something wrong with my previous income tax and that I needed to contact them immediately,“ recalled Singh.
She was also told she was under investigation for tax fraud. Two days later she received another call that suggested she needed to contact the investigator on her case.
Sergeant Eric Melendez of the Hayward Police Department said it’s just another version of a con-game in which scammers pose as members of a government agency, the police department or a utility.
Melendez said that the scammers give an urgent reason why you need to send them money right away. Often the con artists ask for prepaid debit cards – like Green Dot Cards- or wire transfers. Some scammers also add an air of legitimacy by using special computer programs to disguise their real phone number so it appears they calling from a legitimate phone number belonging to a government agency. Another warning sign is that the scams often take place on the weekend, so victims have a difficult time verifying who is making the call.
The good news is that Cheryl Singh didn’t fall for it. She called the IRS to verify that the agency wasn’t looking for. She also called ConsumerWatch to share her experience.
“I didn’t want anyone else to go through this,” said Singh.
The bottom line is that the Internal Revenue Service will not call you, email or text you.