Cannon County residents are receiving fraudulent phone calls claiming to be from the IRS.
"This morning I received a phone call from the IRS stating that I owe them money. I know this was a fraud phone call cause I do not owe anything to the IRS," an Auburntown resident told the Courier.
"I have read articles on these types of phone calls and people being scammed out of a lot of money, I have been in the banking business for my whole working career and its amazing what you see," she said.
"It was a recording and they told me to call back asap, so I did. The number that they gave me was Des Moines, WA (253) 336-5442. It was the same number that came up on my caller ID. So I called and a gentlemen answered with a very heavy foreign ancient I asked him his name and he stated John Edwards. I told him that I know that this is a fraud call and I told him I will call my local sheriffs office and I did," she said.
"The dispatcher said that she has had a few of these calls. I would like for you to let the public know that this is going on in our area."
The IRS said this is part of an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers.
Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
Or, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an "urgent" callback request.
Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
The Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee also offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of the IRS phone scam:BBB offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of the IRS phone scam: