OHIO AG: Beware tax scammers demanding payments via phone

Staff Report

Be wary of tax-related scam calls signaling you are in trouble with the IRS.

More than 600 such cases have been reported to the Ohio attorney general’s office since Sept. 1. Suspects tend to call from an out-of-state number and ask for money.

In one recent variation of the scam, a consumer receives a call from a “Steve Martin” who claims to work for the U.S. Treasury Department. He says the consumer is facing federal charges and must call a specific phone number, often one with a 757 or 540 area code (Virginia).

In another variation, a recorded message warns the consumer that this is the “final notice from the IRS” before a lawsuit will be filed.

Consumers who respond to the calls are instructed to send hundreds of dollars using money transfers or prepaid cards, which are commonly found at grocery or convenience stores. While most consumers do not send any money, a few have reported losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

“Con artists rely on people becoming so nervous that they send money right away,” Ohio Attorney General DeWine said. “If you receive one of these calls, don’t respond and don’t send any money.”

U.S. Treasury or IRS impersonation scams can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov or 800-366-4484.

Consumers also can contact the Ohio attorney general’s office at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

Staff Report