'Sophisticated phone scam' targets taxpayers, immigrants

Updated: Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:25 AM EST
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HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - The Hanover County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a "sophisticated phone scam" that targets taxpayers and recent immigrants.

"Callers claim to be IRS employees, using fake names and bogus 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," the Hanover Sheriff's Office said.

Victims are told they owe the IRS money and that it must be quickly paid through a gift card or wire transfer.

"Victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license," the Hanover Sheriff's Office said. "In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. 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."

The sheriff's office reminders residents that the IRS does not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business license, or immigration status.

"When you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and notifying you that back taxes are due, do not provide them any personal information," the sheriff's office said.

If you've received one of these calls and have lost money, call the Hanover Sheriff's Office at 804-365-6140. You can also report IRS scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission at

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