This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A persistent, nationwide "robocall" scam that tries to trick victims out of their personal information and cash by threatening legal action over purportedly overdue taxes has made its way to southern Utah.
This week, the St. George Police Department issued a warning to the public about the calls and voicemails from a purported female Internal Revenue Service agent that "end by threatening legal problems if you do not return the call."
Sometimes, the scammer also demands payment through credit or money cards over the phone.
Last week, the IRS issued its own warning, noting that it has received more than 90,000 complaints this year about calls. Most people recognize the scam, but about 1,100 fell for it, losing some $5 million to the con.
"There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated. "Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail."
The IRS notes that "a big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate."
People receiving such calls should hang up immediately and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. From the complaint homepage, select "Other" and then "Imposter Scams." In the notes, please include "IRS Telephone Scam."
Concerned citizens also can visit the CallerCenter.com website, a free consumer complaints board allowing individuals to report and check suspicious phone numbers.
If you think you actually may owe federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov for help.