Assemblyman Hikind (D-Brooklyn) and Yanky Daskal, the founder and coordinator of the Boro Park Shomrim, have released a video discussing the IRS-impersonation telephone tax scam which numerous community members have complained about. The 7-minute video presents a wealth of information describing how these types of scams work as compared with how the IRS actually proceeds.
Assemblyman Hikind explained that the IRS-impersonation telephone scam has frightened many constituents who called him to complain. The aggressive and sophisticated phone scam, which targets taxpayers, has been making the rounds throughout the country and many Brooklyn residents are being targeted.
“People tend to panic when they hear the term IRS,” explained Assemblyman Hikind. “That’s a mistake. There’s no need to panic. The IRS does not call you.” Assemblyman Hikind gave an example of a husband and wife from the community who had received the call were besides themselves with fear and how his office helped them understand that they were safe from the threats they had heard.
“There’s a new thing now,” explained Daskal. “There’s now a machine that answers when you pick up the phone saying that it is calling from the IRS. It sounds very official and people get taken.”
Live callers or robo-calls claim to be IRS employees and sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and phony IRS identification badge numbers. They may even know a lot about their targets, and they often use sophisticated software applications to alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is actually calling. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS which must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. Those who don’t cooperate are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.
“Again-the IRS will never call you,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “If the IRS needs to contact you for any reason at all, they will write you a letter. Consequently, if you receive a call from anyone claiming to be from the IRS, or if someone visits you claiming to be an IRS agent, they are attempting to deceive you.
“If you owe money, you will be mailed a bill. The IRS will not contact you to demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Neither will they require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, nor ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. The problem occurs when people panic and believe the callers.”
Another angle on the IRS-impersonation scam is when a victim receives a call and is told that they have a refund due. The point of this is to try to trick the victim into sharing private information. In addition, if the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“Never share your bank information with anyone over the phone,” said Hikind. “If the IRS owes you a refund, you will receive a check or instructions via the U.S. mail.”
Assemblyman Hikind urges anyone who believes they have been a victim of the new IRS scam or any other scam to contact his office at 718-853-9616.
To view the video, CLICK HERE.