COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warns a growing number of Ohioans are being victimized by tax-related scams.
Since the April 15 filing deadline, more than 50 reports of tax scams have come in from across the state. Most have not lost any money, but some reported losing anywhere from $700 to $28,000.
Typically, the suspect calls their victim claiming to represent the IRS and saying they owe money for back taxes or claim the victim is being investigated for tax fraud. The caller asks the victim to send money using a prepaid card. Once that money is sent, it becomes nearly impossible to recover.
The suspect's phone number usually appears on caller ID with a 202 (Washington, D.C.) area code, but the attorney general's office believes scammers are faking the number and are actually located outside of the country.
"Tax season is over, but tax scams are continuing," DeWine said. "Con artists pretend to be the IRS and tell consumers there is a problem with their taxes. They make threats and demand immediate payment. A legitimate government agency will not do this."
To protect yourself from scams, DeWine's office says be suspicious of callers who say these things:
- You owe back taxes.
- You're being investigated for tax fraud.
- The government is going to seize your money or property.
- You will be arrested if you don't pay.
- You must provide information about your tax return.
To report a potential scam or unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at (800) 282-0515 or OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.