CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Coastal Carolina Better Business Bureau says they have been flooded with calls from local taxpayers about a potential Internal Revenue Service rip-off targeting our area.
The BBB said the most important note to remember is the IRS will never contact a person by phone or email.
Kathy Graham, President and CEO of Coastal Carolina BBB added, “Don't click on any links, don't respond to the email, do not give your personal information over the telephone.”
Graham said in recent weeks many people say they have received suspicious emails, phone calls, even faxes from the IRS that look or sound convincing.
Scammers can now use internet phone access and smart phone apps to make calls from anywhere or any name they would like, Graham explained, “Your caller ID may even say IRS with a 202 area code, that really freaks people out.”
Graham said the con-artist will pose as the IRS, and scare or threaten people into giving out their personal information or money. “They will get their name, date of birth, and social security number; and that's all a scammer needs to take your identity to fly off to Tahiti and buy a house.”
Graham warned the phone calls could come in the form of a robocall that will prompt you to call a number and provide your information to avoid being arrested.
Graham said, “Honest and good trustworthy people panic and will pay, and they will pay out of fear, out of panic.”
You may remember back in 2012 hackers breached the South Department of Revenue. The personal info of anyone who filed taxes electronically since 1998 was compromised. It's believed that breach may be the reason we are recently seeing more scammers targeting our area.
“So because of the breach it might be part of the reason why it's starting to come out now because that was back in 2012, and it's only been two years. I anticipate that in three years we're really going to get hit with it,” warned Graham.
If you get one of these bogus calls or emails remember the following:
The IRS doesn't contact people by phone or email.
The federal agency will never threaten to arrest you.
If you do owe back taxes, the IRS will send out notices, in the mail, and they usually will send out several notices if you owe money.
For more information on how to protect yourself,
for BBB alerts to get more tips on how to spot these so-called rip-offs.