Warning: Watch out for IRS scammers during tax season - KMOV.com

Warning: Watch out for IRS scammers during tax season

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(KMOV.com) – January 19 is the first day you can officially file your taxes. For scammers, this is of the best days of the year.

One of the biggest rip-off attempts happen over the phone. Officials say the government is working to warn you before you are persuaded by crooks.

According to authorities, the US Treasury Department issued a public service announcement (POP) warning taxpayers about phone scammers who claim to be IRS agents.

Claire McCaskill, Missouri Senator said, “When someone calls you and says, ‘I’m the IRS, wire me money,’ do not do that.”

Lawmakers have warned the public over and over again about IRS scams, but there are still plenty of victims.

A North Carolina pastor was so scared after getting a call from a scammer, he could not think straight. The pastor says the calls started with threats.

“She was informing me that they were filing a warrant for my arrest,” said Al Cadenhead, victim.

According to Cadenhead, over the next seven hours after the call, he made multiple withdrawals from his bank and sent the money to the IRS impersonators with prepaid debit cards. The amount he withdrew was $16,000.

Authorities say in March of 2015, 366,000 people had been called by scammers. Since then, the number of victims have grown to 900,000.

The total amount stolen has grown from $15 million to more than $26 million, and keeps growing, authorities say.

The best way to combat the IRS crooks is simple, hang up the phone.

Remember: The actual IRS will not contact you by phone. The IRS will start with the mail if they need to reach you.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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