MEXICO — The Police Department is continuing to get complaints about people claiming to be from the IRS and demanding money from local residents, Police Chief Roy Hodsdon said.

“We received three calls already this week about the IRS and obviously, the same phone number is used, and I tell people to Google that number and they’ll see it says, ‘IRS scam. This number has been scammed.’ I mean, the IRS isn’t going to call and tell you they’re coming to arrest you. They’re going to do it officially,” the chief said.

IRS spokesman David D. Stewart in Newark, Del., confirmed that Friday. He issued a news release and said bogus calls like this continue to be problematic.

“It is just so rampant and so unrelenting and sounds so serious that people do get flustered and, unfortunately, people have gotten fleeced,” Stewart said.

“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation, lawsuit or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” Stewart said. “The first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail. Don’t let yourself get involved in a tax scam or be bullied by con artists.”

He said these callers may demand money or tell victims they have a refund due and try to trick them into sharing private information.

“These con artists can sound convincing when they call,” he said. “They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an ‘urgent’ callback request.”

He provided a list of things that he called “telltale” signs of a scam that scammers often do but the IRS will not do. The IRS, he said, will never:

* Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.

* Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

* Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

* Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

* Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

“We just can’t remind people enough, because more and newer scams keep popping up,” Stewart said.

He said the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss someone’s personal tax issue.

If people get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, Stewart said that if people know they owe taxes or think they might owe, they should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 so IRS workers can help with a payment issue.

Those who know they don’t owe taxes or have any reason to believe they don’t, should report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov. They should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use its “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Just add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of one’s complaint.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.

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