Sukhjit Khangura first got the disturbing call from a man who said she owed a lot of money in back taxes when she was home alone. Khangura told us he said "We are investigating you and you owe the IRS $40,000."
The stay-at-home mom of Punjabi decent was stunned and petrified. Although she knew her family always paid on time, this person who claimed to work for the internal revenue service insisted they owed money. "I was scared. I had goosebumps and I was shivering," said Khangura.
The caller threatened to send a Selma police officer to arrest her but something seemed fishy, so Khangura hung up. "We pay taxes. I know very well, we pay taxes," said Khangura.
Merced County district attorney Larry Morse sees an increase in con-artists posing as federal workers during the holiday season. What's scary about this new trend is they know the last four digits of your social security number. Morse says the crooks tend to prey on newer immigrants. "It's a complete lack of any character or soul to target the weakest among us but unfortunately criminals, that's how they operate," said Morse.
The district attorney wants people to know the IRS never calls. The agency sends notices out by mail. Morse told us it's challenging to catch these thieves but his office will prosecute anyone caught committing the crime. "Unfortunately many of these operations are boiler rooms, they move quickly, they set up, they target folks they find whatever success they can and they move on quickly," said Morse.
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with questions or any payment issue if there really is such an issue.
If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint."
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