The Indiana State Police in Fort Wayne and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Northern Indiana are teaming up to remind citizens to be aware of the scam circulating in which callers purport to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to the BBB, these scams most often start with a phone call and take two basic forms. In the first version, the IRS “agent” says you owe back taxes and pressures you into paying by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. If you don’t comply, the scammer threatens you with arrest and fines. In the other version, scammers claim they are issuing tax refunds and ask you for personal information so they can send your refund. This information can later be used for identity theft. Scammers also use this approach to target college students by claiming a “federal student tax” has not been paid.

You are pressured to act quickly. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have time to think. They insist payment be made by wire transfer, prepaid debit card, or other non-traditional payment methods. These methods are largely untraceable and non-reversible.

These calls are very intimidating. Being arrested, thrown in jail, and owing lots of money are sure to shake people up, and as such, people instinctively pull out their wallets to make the threats go away. Please be assured that these calls are not legitimate.   

The IRS will give you the chance to ask questions or appeal what you owe. Also, their first contact with you will always be by mail, not phone or email and will never demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit card or debt card numbers over the phone.

If you receive unsolicited phone calls or emails from what may appear to be the IRS or any other organization, and wish to verify their validity, you are encouraged to contact the BBB of Northern Indiana directly at (260) 423-4433.  You can also view the different types and locations of scams using the “Scam Tracker” feature by following this link The BBB also offers 10 tips on how to avoid scams by following this link