Scam Alert: Beware of call claiming to be from IRS

Scam Alert: Beware of call claiming to be from IRS

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Numerous people have contacted WLOX in the last several days saying they've received messages claiming to be from the IRS. However, it's a scam designed to make people panic leading up to the April 18 tax filing deadline.

The call is in the form of a recorded message claiming the IRS is filing a lawsuit against the caller. To get more information, the message instructs the person call back immediately.

Certified public accountant Jerry Levens with Alexander, Van Loon in Gulfport says he's seen an increase in inquiries from clients asking about the calls.

"The bad actors are going to claim you owe money, and they're seeking money or your identity," said Levens.

The tax filing deadline is coming up on Monday, and Levens says it's the a perfect time for scammers to try and take advantage.

"Typically they intensify when tax season is such a focus of people with their tax returns and preparation," said Levens. "There is a high degree of sensitivity to it, and so certainly the scams increase this time of year."

Levens thinks two specific groups of people should be on the lookout for tax scams.

"When you think about that senior citizen who may be recently widowed who's unsure, the spouse who died took care of all the business affairs so they're not sure how to respond," said Levens. "New immigrants to our country may be would not be as sophisticated to understand how the IRS and the US Treasury operate."

The IRS website lists in detail what won't be done if they are seeking money. The list includes asking for credit or debit numbers over the phone, along with threatening to arrest you for not paying.

"The IRS has a protocol and never communicates by phone," said Levens. "IRS communication will always be through the U.S. Mail."

For more information on scams to look out for and what to do if you are contacted, click here.

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