Crooks pretending to work for IRS target Mid-Southerners - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crooks pretending to work for IRS target Mid-Southerners

The Mid-South is being barraged by scam phone calls by crooks pretending to be from the IRS. (Source: WMC Action News 5) The Mid-South is being barraged by scam phone calls by crooks pretending to be from the IRS. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

The Mid-South is being barraged by scam phone calls by crooks pretending to be from the IRS. Even community leaders have almost become victims of the latest con.

If you own a phone, there is a chance you could receive one of these calls. So, keep reading.

The following voicemail caught Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland off guard on Thursday morning.

"Hello, we have been trying to reach you. This call is official final notice from the IRS, Internal Revenue Services. The reason of this call is to inform you that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you."

Commissioner Roland had several conversations with the people on the other end of the line. As soon as Roland started asking questions, the call would end. 

"I've been called four or five times today from the same two numbers," he said.

According to Nancy Crawford with Better Business Bureau, the scam is targeting people across the region.  

"We are getting hundreds of calls over the last few days. Our phones have not stopped ringing," she said. "According to the IRS, if the phone call is the first contact you've had from them, it's not them. It's an imposter."

But, other victims said the people claiming to be with the IRS were very convincing, but very aggressive. They threatened to issue a warrant for their arrest if they did not give them a credit card number and pay thousands of dollars over the phone.

Crawford says the real IRS would handle things differently.

"They want to work with you. They want to get your money. They want you to pay your taxes," she explained. "They're not going to threaten to put you in jail."

The scam is widespread and in many cases, it's working.

"Since October 2013, more than 5,000 people have fallen victim to this scam for a total of over $26 million," Crawford added.

Roland tried to call his scammers back, but they had already blocked him since he knew their scheme. 

"The only thing that worries me is if they've got my number, what else do they have access to?" he said.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

- The IRS will never call and ask for your credit card number or social security number.

- If you get a call from a strange number and hear a recording claiming to be from the IRS, call the local IRS office directly and have them check to see if you are, in fact, in their system for unpaid taxes.

- Report the calls to the IRS and Federal Trade Commission so they can track the scammers down.

  • To reach the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, call 1-800-366-4484.
  • To reach Federal Trade Commission, call 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357.) When filing a complaint with the FTC, please add the words "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
  • To see BBB's scamtracker interactive map, click here.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly