CLEVELAND – The IRS is warning of a tax scam that's taken advantage of more than 20,000 people for more than a million dollars, in nearly every state in the nation.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George says, "This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen."
The scam involves IRS impostors calling to say that you owe taxes that need to be paid immediately. The thieves insist on payment via pre-paid debit cards or wire transfer over the phone.
The scammers threaten everything from arrest or deportation to the seizing of a business and revoking of a driver's license for those who don't pay.
The IRS says that in some cases, the thieves have even faked the caller ID to resemble the IRS. The thieves also use fake badge numbers and follow up with official looking e-mails. In some cases, they've even known the last four digits of the target's social security number.
George says that actual IRS agents will generally contact taxpayers by mail first and will never ask for payment by debit card or wire transfer.
The IRS is currently working with phone carriers to trace the calls and is asking anyone who has received them to report them.