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‘I was like, really?’ People wising up to IRS scam calls

MILWAUKEE -- Scam phone calls are annoying and, right now, a lot of them are impersonating the IRS.

The scam isn't original but it's working. Since the IRS began tracking this scam, nearly 150 Wisconsinites have lost about $650,000.

In January, these scam calls can be unrelenting and they don't vary much.

"She was pretty much saying that I was in violation of my taxes," Nicole Grzeskiewicz who received one of the calls. "I could be arrested, cops could be at my door."

"There's a warrant out for your arrest," Kito Morgan recalled the scammer saying when he received a scam call. "You will be imprisoned."

"You owe the IRS money," Sande Neuhofer remembered from the scam call she got. "You will be imprisoned."

Fortunately, most people are catching on.

"I was like, really?" Morgan said. "When he couldn't get the fear factor working outta me, he cussed me out and hung up."

"You messed with the wrong woman on the wrong day," Grzeskiewicz remembered about her scam call.

"I thought oh boy, ok, I called our local police," Neuhofer said.

The calls claim to be IRS employees. They sometimes know a lot about their targets and use bogus ID numbers. They will threaten victims with arrest or deportation and can become angry or aggressive.

Sometimes, the scam is obvious immediately.

Kito Morgan

"He said his name was Mike Jordan. He had an east Indian accent," Morgan said.

Remember, the IRS will never demand immediate payment using a pre-paid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. It won't call you without mailing a tax bill first. The IRS does not threaten to bring in the police of or ask for debit card numbers.

Finally, it never demands payment without giving you the chance to ask questions or appeal the amount.

So, scan your calls and stay vigilant.

"I just really want people to spread the word because it is so important," Neauhofer said.

If you think you've received an IRS scam call, you can report it HERE.