Monday, January 18, 2021

The Southlake Police Department Warns of IRS Phone Scam

The Southlake Police Department is asking residents to be vigilant about phone and email scams that use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a lure. The scammers will attempt to contact individuals by phone or email. The fraudulent call goes something like this: “This is an officer from the Internal Revenue Service. We have been trying to reach you. This call is an official and final notice from the Internal Revenue Service. The reason for the call is to inform you that we have filed a lawsuit against you. For more information call us immediately.” 

At least one Southlake resident has reported receiving one of these fraudulent phone calls. They did the right thing by not returning the phone call and notifying the Southlake Police Department immediately.

It is important to remind our citizens that the IRS will never contact you by phone or email ‘out of the blue.’ If you owe money to the IRS they will send you a letter by certified mail. Police Chief James Brandon says, “Being informed is the best defense and we want to make every effort to protect our citizens from becoming victims of the IRS scam.”

Here are some important tips for citizens from the IRS:

  • The IRS will never initiate contact with individuals by phone or email to request personal or financial information.
  • The IRS will only initiate contact by certified mail.
  • The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access.
  • Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov.
  • The IRS will never request immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. (*Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.)

In some cases, after threatening victims with jail time or a driver’s license revocation, scammers will often hang up and call back pretending to be from the local police department or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The caller ID often supports their claim because the scammers are able to mask the real number they are calling from with one that appears to be from the IRS.

Another big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and are urging immediate payment. The IRS wants to make it clear that this is not how they operate. They also urge individuals to hang up immediately and contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or the IRS at IRS.gov, phone 1.800.829.1040 or contact TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484.