The Austin County Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens about an IRS scam circulating in the community.

In a statement, the Sheriff’s Office says scam artists are working overtime before the April 18th tax deadline.

“The Internal Revenue Service reports sophisticated IRS impostors are calling people and demanding immediate payment.  In some cases they’re also impersonating local law enforcement and threatening you with immediate arrest unless you send money amounting in thousands of dollars in back taxes that you supposedly owe.”

The scammers use phone spoofing to make their number come up as “IRS,” and they already have the last 4 digits of your Social Security number – both of which lends them an air of legitimacy.

Here are some of their other tactics to watch for:

  • They use common names and fake IRS badge numbers
  • They send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam
  • They call a second time claiming to be the police or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim

Victims are told to submit payment either by wire or by prepaid debit card. So far, 1,000 people nationwide have been swindled out of $5 million, according to the IRS officials.

The Austin County Sheriff’s Office says the IRS will never contact you by phone asking for money.  The IRS only contacts people through the mail, so anyone who gets one of these calls should hang up the phone immediately.

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