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Police Warn of Taxpayer Phone Scam

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
Newport Beach police recently issued an alert to residents, warning about a phone scam circulating throughout the city.

According to Newport Beach police, a person is called on the phone and told by a suspect who claims to be an Internal Revenue Service investigator or employee they have an overdue tax bill or owe money to the IRS or the Franchise Tax Board.

If the person does in fact owe taxes and engages in conversation with the suspect, the suspect then tries to convince the person to settle the overdue amount for a lower negotiated price. 

Several other suspects may take part in the call, police said, posing as investigators or lawyers from the IRS or the FTB, in order to add credibility to the scam. The suspects eventually ask the person to provide his or her banking information or to wire money to a third party.

Authorities say employees of the IRS or the FTB would never actually initiate this type of phone call or negotiate a bill over the phone.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or the FTB, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of this type of scam should call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949-644-3717.

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