The IRS has issued a warning that con artists are impersonating tax agents to try to rip off the public.
The IRS scam is spreading nationwide, according to a news release from the federal agency.
Victims receive a phone call, telling them they owe money and that it must be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. They are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of business or drivers' licenses, the release said.
Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werdel said actual agency officials will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, or request pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers for payment.
Typically, the IRS will initiate contact with people by mail, and threats such as the scammers are making are a sign of a problem.
If someone calls claiming to be from the IRS:
- Call the IRS at 800-829-1040 if you or someone you know owes money, and an agent will assist with any needed payments.
- Call the treasury's inspector general for tax administration at 800-366-4484 if you don't owe taxes, did not receive a bill or are threatened.
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov and include the words "IRS Telephone Scam" in the comments to issue a complaint.
Earlier this week, a man who impersonated a Beaufort County sheriff's deputy told several Hilton Head Island residents they had missed jury duty and must pay $2,000 or go to jail.
Attempts Thursday to find out if anyone in Beaufort County has reported the IRS scam to the Sheriff's Office were unsuccessful.
Follow Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.