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IRS issues warning about new telephone scam

The Internal Revenue Service has warned taxpayers in Georgia and around the country about a new telephone scam. According to the agency, callers posing as representatives of the IRS tell potential victims that attempts to contact them using certified mail have been unsuccessful and they must make an immediate payment using a prepaid debit card to avoid arrest. The callers are said to be adding an air of credibility to the scam by claiming that the prepaid debit cards are connected to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System.

Potential victims are also told to not contact an attorney, their tax preparers or the IRS until after they have made the tax payment. The IRS advises taxpayers to immediately hang up and call the agency directly when contacted by telephone over alleged unpaid taxes. The IRS sends taxpayers bills before taking any action to collect unpaid taxes, and the agency's representatives do not make calls threatening to involve local law enforcement and demanding immediate payment.

The latest unpaid taxes scam is similar to previous schemes that demanded payment using gift cards. In the past, scammers have demanded payment for a nonexistent Federal Student Tax and used phishing emails to gather the usernames and passwords used by tax preparers to log into the IRS e-services portal. Taxpayers who may have been contacted by scammers are advised to contact law enforcement or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Taxpayers sometimes fall victim to unpaid tax scams because they are worried about their assets being seized and their paychecks being garnished. Attorneys with experience in this area could help to ease these fears by negotiating with the IRS on their behalf. When taxpayers are unable to make full restitution, attorneys may seek to work out an offer in compromise agreement with the IRS.

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