Surge of Tax-Related Phone Scams Reported Across Ohio
September 18, 2015 - 3:13 PM
Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned that his office has received
more than 600 reports of tax-related scams since Sept. 1.
scams generally begin with a phone call telling consumers they are in
trouble with the IRS and must call an out-of-state number for more
information. Eventually consumers are asked for money.
one recent variation of the scam, a consumer receives a call from a
“Steve Martin,” who claims to work for the U.S. Treasury Department. He
says the consumer is facing federal charges and must call a specific
phone number, often one with a 757 or 540 area code (Virginia). In
another variation, a recorded message warns the consumer that this is
the “final notice from the IRS” before a lawsuit will be filed.
who respond to the calls are instructed to send hundreds of dollars
using money transfers or prepaid cards, which are commonly found at
grocery or convenience stores. While most consumers do not send any
money, a few have reported losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.
artists rely on people becoming so nervous that they send money right
away,” Attorney General DeWine said. “If you receive one of these calls,
don’t respond and don’t send any money.”
Tips for consumers to avoid tax-related phone scams include:
Don’t trust threatening callers.
If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone who threatens to
arrest you for not paying taxes, be very skeptical, especially if you
never received any written notice. Also don’t trust someone who demands
that you pay immediately via wire transfer or prepaid card. These are
preferred payment methods for scam artists.
Don’t respond to illegal robocalls in any way.
Don’t interact with the caller, and don’t call a number left on your
phone or in a message. Responding to a scam call can result in even more
calls because it lets con artists know that your phone number belongs
to a real person.
Look into call-blocking options.
Check with your phone carrier and third-party services to determine
whether call-blocking services could help you stop unwanted calls.
(Attorney General DeWine has joined dozens of other attorneys general in
encouraging phone carriers to use call-blocking technology to help
consumers stop illegal telemarketing calls.)