WATCH: IRS phone scam hits Kansas City

Posted at 6:05 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:25:56-04

If you've recently received a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, you're not alone.

Several viewers called 41 Action News this week to complain about the calls, and the Kansas City Better Business Bureau received about 30 such calls on Wednesday alone.

The caller not only claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service, there's also typically a demand for immediate money and even threats of a lawsuit or jail.

Janet Markham received two calls from two different scammers.

"I got a phone call from someone saying they were the IRS and they were going to sue me,” Markham said.

The first message she received threatened to arrest her if she didn’t pay up.

“The reason for this call is because the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you," the message said.

Markham did call both numbers back.

"I did call them and it was very unprofessional. There was a lot of noise,” she said.

41 Action News also tried reaching both of the scammers, but they never picked up.

BBB Manager of Information and Media Services Aaron Reese said scammers typically buy lead lists for various communities, and they've recently been hitting cities all over the country. A few weeks ago, the Lexington, Kentucky, BBB received roughly 200 calls about this same scam.

“Today is whenever we started getting dozens of calls,” said Reese. “If they start demanding money immediately, if you've never heard of it before, you've never heard of a debt before ... because the IRS is always going to contact you by mail first."

Fortunately, Markham didn’t pay any money to the scammers who called her. She used to work for the IRS.

"I knew, we don't call and say things like this, at all," she said.

Remember: The IRS will almost never call you at home and will never ask for immediate payment or threaten a lawsuit or jail.

If you suspect you have a tax problem or want to double check a caller's claims, you can call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040. If you want to report a scam call you’ve received, dial 1-800-366-4484.

Click here to learn more about IRS imposters.


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