KINGMAN - Just hang up.
That's the advice given by Bill Brunson, a spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service, about a telephone scam that seems to be hitting a lot of Kingman residents lately. Brunson said IRS impersonators have been running the scam for years and that's the best advice to avoid being fleeced.
"The IRS advises taxpayers to not engage with these callers and to hang up immediately," said Brunson. "There are specific things the IRS won't do, and taxpayers should know them. We've been tracking this activity since October 2013 and making people aware so they don't fall victim to this scam."
The specific things the IRS won't do are:
Call to demand immediate payment;
Call about taxes owed without first having mailed out a bill;
Demand that taxes be paid without giving an opportunity to question or appeal the amount;
Require the use of a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card or a money order;
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone;
Threaten arrest by law enforcement.
Brunson said the scammers are skilled with modern technology, using an old tool - the telephone - with modern enhancements.
They are able to make the phone number on caller ID appear to be from the IRS or local police department, he said.
Golden Valley resident Michelle Wisda received a call Friday from an IRS impersonator who threatened her with the seizure of all her property, as well as her bank account.
The man, who had a foreign accent and was rude, said she was going to be arrested on felony fraud charges.
"He said I owe the IRS from 2008-2012, because I had been audited and they determined I purposely defrauded the IRS," said Wisda. "He said I owed a total of $2,700 and that they would seize my bank account, house and vehicle. And they would contact my place of employment."
Wisda said she told the man she wanted to call her accountant, Brenda Marker at B & G Accounting & Tax, to see what was wrong. Once Wisda said that, the man quickly hung up. Wisda said Marker told her that she had received several calls lately with the same complaint.
"It was scary to think that everything I had worked for could be taken away," said Wisda, who didn't pay money to the caller.
"My heart was pounding and it was very intimidating, even though I knew it wasn't true. I'm talking about it because I don't want others to become victims of this scam."