Get Garcia: Beware IRS Tax Refund Scam

"These kinds of scams are very clever and they're getting better and better," said Lourdes Souss of the IRS

By Keith Esparros and Ana Garcia
|  Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013  |  Updated 11:16 PM PDT
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Beware IRS Tax Refund Scam

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It's a phone call most taxpayers would definitely like to get, but federal authorities are warning about a telephone scam aimed at raiding bank accounts, or worse.
 
It nearly happened to John Remley of Pomona. He got a voicemail message saying the Internal Revenue Service had determined he had qualified for a tax refund of $2,100.

Remley was suspicious immediately.

"I knew this was a scam," he said.

He called the IRS and quickly confirmed the refund was not real.
 
"These kinds of scams are very clever and they're getting better and better," said Lourdes Souss of the IRS.
 
The voicemail instructed Remley to call a phone number with a 202 area code. That's the code for Washington D.C., the real home of the real IRS.
 
Remley didn't return the call, but the NBC4 Get Garcia team did:

What NBC4 heard was a voice with a foreign accent who told us he was with "the federal IRS" in Washington. When we asked from which particular building he was calling, the line suddenly went dead.
 
According to the IRS, criminals tell callers they need credit card or bank account information to deposit the refund.
 
"My worry is ... people will call that number and they will give their personal information," Remley said.
 
Souss said that's just not how the IRS operates.

"The IRS will send you a letter by mail, rarely will you get a phone call and never will you get an email saying 'I want your personal information.' The IRS should have that information if they are contacting you," Souss said.

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