Ohio attorney general warns consumers against callers claiming to represent IRS

28 May 2016

Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine has warned consumers to beware of callers who claimed to represent the IRS and demand payment via iTunes gift cards, after 10 people in the state reported losing between $1,000 and $11,500 to scam.

There had also been reports of hundreds of others receiving scam calls that falsely suggested they were in trouble with the IRS.

In the latest twist to the scam, the consumer is asked to purchase iTunes gift cards, often worth $500 each, to resolve the supposed tax problem. After the consumers buy the card, they are instructed to read the numbers on the back of the cards over the phone. With the information, scammers drain the cards' funds, making it nearly impossible for the consumer to recover the money.

''The real IRS is not going to call you unexpectedly and demand that you pay off tax debt using an iTunes card,'' attorney general DeWine said. ''This is not how the IRS operates. But con artists are good at what they do, and anyone can fall for scams. We're encouraging people to look for the warning signs and to talk to friends, family, and neighbors about this.''
Meanwhile, only days after the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) arrested five persons over an ''ongoing investigation'' into scams, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a warning about a new scam being perpetrated on unsuspecting people. In the latest IRS impersonation scheme people receive bogus phone calls to demanding payment for a non-existent tax, the ''Federal Student Tax.''

However, the non-existence of a tax of the kind had not deterred scammers from targeting students, and threatening to report them to the police if they did not immediately wire money via MoneyGram or other untraceable method.

The FTC says the callers generally had some piece of information that made the call seem legitimate. The information might be the name of the student's school or info that was designed to make the student feel like the caller was a real authoritative figure.

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