Sheriff: IRS impersonators targeting Brunswick County residents

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Several residents in Brunswick County recently reported a phone scam involving people claiming to be with the IRS.

According to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax, the sheriff’s office has received several phone calls from people in the Calabash area reporting the scam this week.

“It’s been around here before,” Flax said. “It’s something that’s been going on a long time. People are doing the right thing and hanging up.”

According to the IRS website, an “aggressive and sophisticated phone scam” from people claiming to be employees of the IRS has been reported throughout the country.

“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,” the website states.

Victims of the calls are told they owe money to the IRS, which must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. The scammers reportedly threaten victims with arrest, deportation, or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

“The callers try to trick victims into sharing personal information by claiming they are owed a refund,” the IRS website states. “If the phone isn’t answered, victims are often left an ‘urgent’ callback request.”

According to its website, the IRS will never: “Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.”

Flax said the sheriff’s office is advising people who have received these calls to report the call to the IRS.

“We appreciate people calling in to let us know they received these call so we can inform the public to make them aware this is happening and can give them the appropriate steps to take,” Flax said.

For more information about the phone scam, click here or to report a IRS impersonation, call click here.