DARIEN, Conn. -- Darien Police are warning residents about a phone scam targeting taxpayers in Darien and surrounding communities.
In this latest scam, victims receive a phone call from somebody claiming to work for the Internal Revenue Service, police said. The caller will tell the intended victim that they owe tax money, and that it must be paid through a pre-loaded debit card or a wire transfer. The caller will often threaten with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license, and will often become hostile during the call. Sometimes they will hang up and have somebody else call the victim pretending to be from the police or Department of Motor Vehicles and the caller ID will support their claim, police said.
Last week an elderly Darien man fell victim to one of these scams, where he was tricked into transferring nearly $3,000 to a caller claiming to be an IRS agent. The call came from the number 202-239-6612. The victim told police the caller identified himself as "Nick Ray," and had a heavy Indian accent.
"Taxpayers need to be aware so they can help protect themselves," Darien police said in a statement. The IRS will not ask for credit card information over the phone or request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. Police say that if they threaten arrest or deportation, it should be taken as a sign that they are not really from the IRS. The first contact from the IRS with taxpayers will most likely occur via mail, police said.
According to police, the scammers will often use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names to identify themselves with. They are also able to spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the IRS is calling. Sometimes they send fake emails to victims to support their claims, and will have background noise that mimics an IRS call site. They may be able to recite the last four digits of the victim's Social Security number.
Police say that if you receive a call from somebody claiming to be the IRS, you should contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. Actual IRS employees will let you know if there is a payment issue and how it can be resolved.
If you know you don't owe taxes, you can report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use the FTC Complaint Assistant on its website. Police recommend adding "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.