U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall warned consumers about a phone scam targeting thousands of taxpayers in New Mexico and throughout the country, and encouraged taxpayers to exercise caution when providing personal information solicited over the phone or online.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), criminals are targeting taxpayers throughout the country with an aggressive and sophisticated impersonation scam. Callers claim to be IRS employees, often using fake names and caller ID that may make it appear as though their call is from the IRS. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim does not comply, the scammers threaten victims with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license. Alternatively, scammers have also offered victims a tax refund as a way to try to trick them into sharing personal information.
“I am deeply troubled that this scam continues to hurt hardworking New Mexicans and has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Tax season is already stressful enough without worrying about fraud,” Udall said. “If you receive a call like this, please report it to law enforcement so they can help prevent others from falling victim to these criminal tactics. And I encourage New Mexicans to always be wary of providing personal information over the phone. As a former federal prosecutor and New Mexico Attorney General, I will continue pushing the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission to put an end to this fraud and hold these criminals accountable.”
Last year, Udall questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about tax refund fraud, identity theft and other crimes targeting taxpayers, and how the IRS can improve services for taxpayers. The IRS does not call taxpayers to demand immediate payment without first having mailed an official notice. They do not require payment through a specific method, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. Additionally, the IRS does not threaten to bring in police or law enforcement groups to arrest individuals for not paying.
Further information on IRS tax scams, including how to report suspected tax fraud activity, can be found HERE.