WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) – Congressman Joe Courtney is warning people in Connecticut to be on the look out for phone scammers that called him. Courtney says he got a suspicious voice mail recently from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service. The caller asked for Courtney’s personal information.
“As soon as I heard the voice on the other end say that they were calling from the IRS I became suspicious – I knew it was likely a phishing scam” said Courtney. “The IRS does not initiate contact with tax filers by phone or email in order to prevent just this type of scam. I quickly erased the message and did not provide any of the information they were looking to obtain. My recommendation is never give out personal information over the phone if there is any doubt about whom you are speaking with. If you receive a call out of the blue, hang up the phone, and contact the IRS or the Connecticut Taxpayer Advocate directly.”
The federal government says it is aware of at least 900,000 similar phone scams since the fall of 2013, and they say crooks have stolen more than $26 million dollars from people who thought they were dealing with the IRS.
Courtney has this reminder: Stated IRS policy is to never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
For help with tax issues, including reporting suspected fraud, call the Connecticut Taxpayer Advocate at (860) 756-4555.