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Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 1:18am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Today was the first day to start filing your taxes and while you may have been busy collecting W2's and other paperwork, the IRS wants you to keep an eye out for scammers looking to make a quick buck.
The IRS says scam artists pretending to be IRS agents call people to tell them they owe the IRS money and must pay right away through a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
If the victim refuses, the scammers then allegedly threaten the taxpayer by saying he or she will be arrested, their driver's license will be suspended, or they'll be deported, if they're a recent immigrant.
"Ways of protecting yourself include never giving out personal information to somebody you don't feel comfortable with, if you haven't done your research, never give out money if they're requesting that upfront, be very cautious when it comes to maybe giving out information over the phone, for example," said Margo Lepe with the Better Business Bureau of El Paso.
The IRS says scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers, and call from a toll-free number to try and make their story believable.
Also, they may be able to recite the last four digits of your social security number.
If you get an email from somebody claiming to be from the IRS, the department says you should not click on it and open it because it could contain malware that can get a hold of your personal information.
The IRS says they never contact taxpayers through social media, email, or a phone call asking for pins, passwords, or other financial information.
If they need to get a hold of you for any reason, the IRS says they will send you a notice in the mail.
If you're not sure about owing the IRS money, call them directly at 1.800.829.1040.
If you'd like to report a scam, call the IRS at 1.800.366.4484 and contact the Federal Trade Commission using the "FTC Complaint Assistant" at https://econsumer.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
For more information on IRS scams and how you can protect yourself, visit http://www.irs.gov/uac/Phishing-and-Other-Schemes-Using-the-IRS-Name