Get a call saying your taxes are overdue? The IRS is suing you?! JUST HANG UP!

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — You owe money! Your taxes are overdue! It's a phone call thousands of people in Wisconsin and beyond are getting. The person on the line says they are from the IRS.

The IRS phone impersonation scam is growing so fast that it's becoming one of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) office's top priorities, according to a recent hearing before the Committee on Finance in the U.S. Senate.

During that hearing, TIGTA revealed that victims' losses nationwide have now totaled more than $15.5 million.

With the number of complaints growing each day, TIGTA says it is "the largest and most pervasive impersonation scam in the history" of the agency.

It's a call that would make anyone think twice. Viewers have been reaching out to FOX6's Contact 6 to learn more about it.  FOX6 producer Sara Smith even got the call and was concerned.

IRS Call

Part of an IRS scam call message FOX6 producer, Sara Smith, received.

"The IRS they're suing me?! Then, I started to think 'did I not pay taxes?'" said Smith.

The messages are not from the IRS. It's part of nationwide scam.

"These crooks will call people on the telephone and say that they have a tax bill that's due and they'll threaten them with arrest or deportation or loss of their driver's license if they don't pay right now," said Christopher Miller who works in Media Relations for the IRS.

Miller says the IRS has been battling this scam for over a year and there's been thousands of victims who have lost millions.

"It seems very real and, of course, it's very scary to anyone who gets a call like that seemingly from the IRS," said Miller.

The scam is happening so often, the IRS created a YouTube video to warn taxpayers.

IRS Video still

Video created by the IRS to warn taxpayers about phone call scam

The calls are almost all the same. The scammers ask for money to be wired or put on a pre-loaded debit card using harassing language and scare tactics. The IRS does not handle business that way.

"The IRS does not call people on the telephone about their tax bill and we don't use threatening or angry or harassing language. If you get a call like that it's a scam — don't fall for it," Miller said.

Thankfully, Sara Smith never returned the call, sent money or gave anyone her information. However, even she admits, she thought about it and wanted to warn others.

"If I almost fell for it, there's got to be other people that are calling this number back and saying 'I've got this case number and how much money do I need to send you,'" Smith said.

Remember, no matter how "real" these calls may seem — they're not. The best thing to do is just hang up. If you are concerned that you owe money to the IRS contact the agency directly.

For information about the scam and what you should do if you get one these calls, click HERE.

If you've received one of the calls, TIGTA strongly recommends reporting the it HERE.

8 comments

  • Natalie Hidalgo

    And if they have an Indian accent that might be a red flag. The guy that called me from the “treasury dept” doing a criminal investigation from phone number 949-800-7609. Told me a federal agent would be at my house in 45 minutes to arrest me. I told him to go ahead and send him now.

  • sru92

    I received a call from the Treasury Department before the Holidays and the caller, Andy, with a thick accent said that due to non-payment of taxes, I was being sued and wanted to know the name of my attorney. Coincidently, I saw a news report prior to the call where an IRS official was speaking of the scam calls. I told “Andy” of the news report and that I knew it was a scam and hung up. Afterwards, I reported to the Treasury Department and IRS. Just ignore the calls and follow the advice is this Fox report.

  • Roma

    This happened to me last July3, last November 27, and today, May 20, 2015. They clowns truly need to quit. Numbers they called from (202)243-0000, (202)666-3015(Yes, 666! How dare they?), (202)684-6797, 888-653-9262. They always call super close to the holidays. I know who it is so I don’t even answer my phone.

    One thing about it that made me really angry was, I read how a couple’s elderly father received one of the threatening calls and took it seriously. The poor man committed suicide because he thought he owed money and was going to jail. How can ANYONE human live with them self knowing they’re responsible for something like that. There’s a special place in hell for these scammers! I hope they realize that.

  • Roma

    Oops. The 888 number is legit. It’s not the so called IRS though. It’s Assurance Wireless.

    • KB

      Well it is June 8,2015 and they are at it again This time by phone recording and just saying the IRS is suing you and to call this #360-680-1031 which is Brinnon Washington and has 800 people or so living there from what I can tell. But just a voice mail people have nothing better to do than to tick us off

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