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Lawmaker warns of phone scam

State Rep. John Sabatina Jr. (D-174th dist.) is warning residents in the Northeast to beware of a telephone scam in which taxpayers receive unsolicited calls from individuals claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and demanding payment.

“This scam has been reported in multiple parts of the state, and now I’ve received reports of it occurring to residents of Northeast Philadelphia,” Sabatina said. “People should always be cautious when giving out personal information over the phone, especially when the caller is aggressive and demanding payment. The IRS always makes first contact through the mail, and would not make aggressive phone calls about payment.”

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Additionally, he noted that the IRS:

• Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

• Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.

• Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.

Other characteristics of these scams include scammers using fake common names and IRS badge numbers; reciting the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number; spoofing the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling; sometimes sending bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls; and hanging up after threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, then soon calling back pretending to be from the local police or Department of Motor Vehicles, with a real-looking caller ID. If anyone believes they have been targeted by this scam, they should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1–800–366–4484. ••

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