IRS warns of phone fraud scams targeting taxpayers

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JEFFERSON CITY - As tax season comes to an end, the Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about con-artists impersonating IRS agents by phone. 

Michael Devine, a spokesperson for the IRS, said he has seen an increase in the number of phone fraud scams in the past 18 months. 

Devine said con-artists are calling taxpayers impersonating IRS agents demanding they pay taxes they might not even owe. 

"The IRS will never call you out of the blue," Devine said. 

Devine said the IRS will first contact people about tax returns by mail, not phone. 

"Anytime someone calls you claiming to be the IRS and you are not expecting a call from the IRS, you need to hang up," Devine said. 

Devine said taxpayers can call the IRS to confirm that the person they are speaking to is an agent and not a scam.

"You're never going to be threatened with arrest or told that you made a mistake on a tax return by phone," Devine said. 

Robert Kick of Jefferson City filed his taxes last year but did not receive his tax return until June.

"I hit send and it kept denying them, over and over," Kick said. "And it kept giving me a number, so I had to call the IRS with the number, and they told me that someone had already filed using my social security number and pin number."

After getting his tax return, Kick realized someone else had stolen his information through a scam to file his taxes. 

Kick said the IRS was helpful with taking care of the problem, but it was a long process. 

More information on how to report fraud scams involving the IRS is available on its website.  

You can also call 1-800-366-4484 to see if the IRS actually needs to get in touch with you.