(WVUE) - With tax season underway, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) wants senior citizens to be vigilant of threatening phone calls from who they say are criminals impersonating IRS agents.
The IRS says the con artists can sound convincing and use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers.
"The IRS warns seniors about these aggressive phone calls that can be frightening and intimidating. The IRS doesn't do business like that," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We urge seniors to safeguard their personal information at all times. Don't let the convincing tone of these scam calls lead you to provide personal or credit card information, potentially losing hundreds or thousands of dollars. Just hang up and avoid becoming a victim to these criminals."
The IRS says in recent years, thousands of victims have lost millions of dollars to tax scams.
Below are some consumer tips from the agency for your protection. It reminds taxpayers the IRS and its authorized private collection agencies:
• Will Never call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
• Will never threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
• Will never demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
• Will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you don't owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
• Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
• Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
• Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.
If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:
• Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.
The IRS also wants citizens to know it does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues involving bills or refunds.
Consumers can find more information by clicking here.