There’s a new wave of scams to beware of.
This time, someone calls claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service. The call sounds legitimate, but it’s all a ploy to get you to hand over money.
Tampa attorney and former federal prosecutor Terry Smiljanich was among the many recently targeted by the scammers.
“It was this phone message from a woman with a thick accent saying it was the IRS calling and there was a serious problem and we needed to call back,” Smiljanich said.
The message made it sound pretty serious, claiming:
“Don’t disregard this message and do return the call. A delay in calling back may end up in a legal mess for you.”
This kind of phone scam has been so persistent the IRS officials have issued multiple warnings. They say if you did have a tax problem, the agency would likely notify you by mail first rather than call and make threats.
“We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues," an official said. "And angry, harassing calls like these are not how we do business.”
Smiljanich decided to call the scammers back to see what would happen.
“He got real aggressive and said, ‘If you don’t give me the name of your lawyer, the federal marshals will be at your door in two hours.’ " Smiljanich said.
"I said, ‘Well, let me tell you something, pal. I don’t need a lawyer. I am a lawyer and I used to be a federal prosecutor.’ Those words got out of my mouth and there was a click on the phone,” Smiljanich said.
Aggression is the true sign of a scam. You should always hang up if you get a potential scam call and that person gets aggressive or threatens you.
After you hang up, make note of the number and call to report the scam to the IRS. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. That agency keeps track of these scams and put out warnings when they see a pattern.