Beware! Phone scammers don’t take vacations

DES MOINES — As the end of the year nears, Iowans are being warned about a sharp rise in bogus phone calls over the paying of your taxes.

Internal Revenue Service spokesman Christopher Miller says scammers are calling, trying to convince you that you need to pay taxes over the phone.

“They are always busy trying to steal your personal information and your passwords to do all sorts of bad stuff,” Miller says, “including filing a tax return using your information and trying to steal your refund.”

The Caller ID may show that the call is from the IRS, but Miller says that’s part of the sophisticated scam. Miller says there are also reports of scammers trying to pressure people into paying tax debts that don’t exist.

“We don’t call to demand immediate payment by telling you how to pay, like through a gift card,” Miller says, “and we don’t threaten to bring in police or have you arrested for not paying.”

Miller says the IRS will never call and demand payment over the phone, and the agency won’t send the sheriff’s department to your house.

If you get a threatening call, he says to just hang up. If you have concerns about possible tax bills, contact the IRS yourself at IRS.gov.