U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, this week warned Connecticut residents to beware of a large-scale Internal Revenue Service impersonation scam in which a caller purporting to be from the IRS threatens imminent arrest if a large sum of money is not sent via reloadable debit card.
According to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, a press release from Blumenthal explained, since this time last year, TIGTA’s Complaint Hotline Center has received more than 100,000 emails and calls about this scam, which already has cost victims approximately $8 million.
“No real IRS agent calls to demand payment or threatens imprisonment. Con artists are taking your money or valuable personal information by masquerading as IRS agents – a scam that should be stopped by both the IRS and Department of Justice before it does more harm,” said Blumenthal in the news release. “I will ask for immediate action, including prompt and aggressive investigation and prosecution. In the meantime, anybody called by these fraudsters should hang up immediately, without giving a scintilla of information, and, if possible, record the phone number and any other identifying information to provide it to TIGTA’s complaint hotline. Scam artists have already taken advantage of thousands of Americans by threatening imminent imprisonment of loved ones, forcing people to act first and ask questions later. Because of the extreme size and scope of this scam, all Americans must take extreme care with sensitive personal and financial information.”
The Federal Trade Commission has compiled resources to protect Americans from government imposter scams like the one being used today. Their five tips to avoid becoming a victims of this scam are, according to Blumenthal’s office:
- Don’t wire money
- Don’t pay for a prize
- Don’t give the caller your financial or other personal information
- Don’t trust a name or number
- Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry