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IRS, law enforcement warn of tax scams

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It's tax day, but that doesn't mean scammers will stop trying to shake you down for your money.

Several local law enforcement agencies are receiving an influx of calls, complaining about tax scams.

Now, the IRS is also sending out a warning, saying these scams are on the rise.

The I-Team spoke to the experts to get some tips to make sure you aren't duped out of your money.

The IRS says these phone calls remain a major threat to taxpayers.

Though Monday is officially tax day, it's also the prime time for people to fall victim to the scam.

The IRS says they will never call you, demanding payment, or to verify information, but that's not stopping these scammers.

The call sounds alarming. They say they're with the IRS, but it's not true.

Officials from the Internal Revenue Service told Newschannel 3, they will never call you demanding payment.

"The ability to spoof phone calls...it looks like it's a call coming from the IRS, so a lot of people don't realize you can spoof phone calls, and it looks like it's coming from the IRS and it sounds like it's coming from the IRS," said Luis Garcia, with the IRS.

The phone scam is spreading across West Michigan, just in time for tax day.

Officials in Kent, Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties all sent out warnings to taxpayers.

Also, a Newschannel 3 viewer recently sent us a voicemail he received.

"Hi, this is the IRS calling, we demand immediate payment," the voicemail said.

"The IRS will never call you out of the blue and demand immediate payment," Garcia said.

And if it sounds weird, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller says double-check and do your homework.

It's better to be safe, then sorry.

"The IRS is not calling your house, they are only sending official mail, and if you have a question about taxes you might owe, or in a situation you may feel you're in, call the IRS yourself," Fuller said.

Some other tips to make sure you don't fall for IRS scams:

  • The IRS will never call you about a tax bill before sending you several bills in the mail first.
  • The IRS will never call you to verify bank account information.
  • Never give out your social security number.
  • Call the IRS if you think you owe back taxes, at 1-800-829-1040.
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