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IRS 'agent' phone scam still claiming victims

Back on Sept. 26, we warned our readers about a widespread scam involving phony IRS agents. The "agents" call innocent people in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, claiming the victim owes thousands in back income taxes. If the victim does not pay immediately, the caller says, the IRS will seize the victim's property, arrest the person or have them deported.

It appears that the con artists are still at it. An official with the U.S. Treasury Department told a news station that thousands of people have paid more than $1 million to frauds posing as IRS agents. The official said that reports of people being victimized by this scheme.

A phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS is rarely pleasant, and it is natural to be vulnerable to scare tactics and threats over the phone from a supposed government agent. But readers should remember that the IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers by phone to talk about unpaid taxes. They first contact taxpayers by mail about these matters.

Threats are also a clue that the person you are speaking to is not really from the IRS. Real agents will not threaten to arrest or deport you, or take away your business or driver's license if you don't pay up right away.

An allegedly unpaid tax bill is a serious matter, and a taxpayer may need to hire a tax attorney to deal with it. But readers should also be on the alert that they are not being scammed out of their hard-earned money.

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