Voice of the consumer: IRS won't call asking for back taxes -- it's a scam

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (The Gazette) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

There is one scam that never takes a break and is always making the rounds, and that’s the IRS scam phone call. Of course, the IRS scam calls pick up around tax season, but we hear about this one year round.

Even as a consumer reporter, I’m not immune to the scam. I got a voicemail the other day saying I am wanted for not paying my taxes. The voicemail said, “The Department of Tax and Crime Investigation. Right now your physical address is under investigation and an arrest warrant has been issued under your name. For further queries and resolving this case, contact the below number of the tax and crime investigation department.” Then the voicemail told me I could speak with an executive — an added layer to make it sound official.

Like you, I pay my taxes so I know it’s a scam, but this scam continues because some people fall for it.

I recently sat down with a young woman who hadn’t heard of it and ended up losing hundreds of dollars. “They said I owed $2,085 in back taxes, and if I didn’t put 50 percent down, I was going to go to jail,” Megan said. “I was scared. I was seriously scared and felt threatened and I was going to go to jail.”

Megan ran to a nearby store and bought $650 worth of gift cards and read the numbers over the phone to the crooks. The thieves were able to swipe the money off the gift cards instantly. “He kept telling me that they were going to freeze my bank account if I don’t get everything out of my account,” she said.

It wasn’t until Megan called a co-worker that she pieced together she’d been tricked.

Click here to read the full column on gazette.com.