IRS: Watch out for tax scams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As we head into the 2014 tax filing season, the IRS is warning taxpayers to watch out for scams.

"We have phishing scams and email scams," said Michael Dobzinski.

For Michelle Conner, 46, it was a phone scam.

"I was scared out of my wits," said Conner, "I didn't know what to do, I didn't know what to say."

It was during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. She was at home when she received a call from someone who claimed he was with the legal affairs department of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Conner and her husband are in an agreement with the IRS to pay off their past due taxes, which they were behind.

"We are behind because of Christmas," she said, "When he called I thought 'uh-oh.'"

She said the caller was convincing. He knew her financial status, her driver's license number and he knew what buttons to push.

"You can't pull the wool over my eyes so easily," she said," but he was so demanding, he was so legit."

She was told to pay the balance owed the IRS immediately or he was going to get a warrant for her arrest.

Conner did not have it; she thought about borrowing it from a relative and then she contacted the Nassau County Sheriff's Office for advice.

"The lady told me it was a holiday and the IRS was closed and it sounds like a scam," said Conner.

Michael Dobzinski is with the IRS South Florida office.

"The IRS does not make cold calls to taxpayers," said Dobzinski.

Dobzinski said the phone call scam is old, but it has been resurrected.

"They claim to be from the criminal investigation office when they're not," he said. "How they get all of this information I don't know."

He said the IRS does not work in this manner. You will receive at least two or three letters from the IRS stating there is a problem, but it will not be by email nor by a phone call.

Conner contacted her IRS agent who confirmed she was the target of a scam and was able to work out her payment agreement with the agency. She said she did not lose any money, but that one call caused her to lose some sleepless nights.

"It was absolutely scary," said Conner.

Learn more about how the IRS operates.


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