IRS Phone Scam Warnings Issued

OCEAN CITY — With the calendar flipping over to 2019 this week and tax season ready to begin in earnest, the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) is warning citizens of frequent recent scams involving fake IRS callers.

The OCPD has seen an increase in a variety of phone scams in recent weeks. The majority of the scams that have been reported have involved a caller claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In most cases, the caller will demand immediate payment for unpaid taxes and threaten arrest by local law enforcement if the victim does not comply.

According to the OCPD, citizens have reported that the callers are very convincing, stating specific details about the victim or using false IRS identification badge numbers or titles. In many cases, the scammers will alter the caller ID information to make it appear as if the IRS is calling.

Meanwhile, the IRS is offering several simple tips to recognize a suspicious scam call. For example, the IRS will not demand an immediate payment and will always give the victim an opportunity to question or appeal the amount that is owed. If the caller requires the victim to use a specific payment method, such as a pre-paid debit card or gift card, it is likely a scam.

In addition, an official caller from the IRS would not ask a victim for credit card information over the phone. An IRS caller would not threaten to contact local police or other law enforcement to have the victim arrested for not paying.

Finally, the IRS assures citizens the agency does not call to demand immediate payment and will first mail a bill to any taxpayer that owes taxes. For more information and tips to avoid becoming a victim of a similar scam, visit the IRS tax scams and consumer alerts webpage.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.