IRS again warns of phone scams as filing season opens

Associated Press • Jan 20, 2016 at 5:00 PM

WASHINGTON — The IRS says taxpayer losses from phone scammers impersonating agency tax collectors have hit $26.5 million over the past couple of years and it's again warning people to just hang up on anyone claiming they're from the agency and demanding immediate payment.

The IRS has received reports of about 900,000 scammer contacts since October 2013 and says more than 5,000 victims have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result. The callers fraudulently claim to be IRS officials and demand that taxpayers immediately send them payment.

The agency has responded with public service announcements reminding people that the IRS sends letters rather than calling taxpayers.

Meanwhile, tax filing season opened Tuesday, and the IRS says its systems are running smoothly.

At least two people contacted the Ludington (Mich.) Daily News this week, saying they have received scam calls from someone purporting to be the IRS and threatening to sue them.

One caller said their accountant told her they had received four calls from customers about the same bogus threat.

Be aware, be careful, and don't give out personal or financial information.

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