AG’s office reiterates warning about IRS phone scheme

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The office of Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin reissued a warning Thursday about a persistent scheme to defraud taxpayers.

Kilmartin is cautioning residents to be wary of calls claiming to be from the International Revenue Service.

The callers request payment for money owed to the IRS be wired to them, threatening to have their victims arrested, deported, or have their licenses suspended.

Cranston resident Jo-Anne Thurston said she got a phone call earlier this week from someone claiming to be from the IRS. After talking with her daughter, Thurston realized the calls were just someone trying to take advantage of her.

“There are people out there that are just bad people. Trying to get money out of all people, mostly the poor,” she said.

Kilmartin says that the IRS always notifies people by mail if they owe money. Also, real IRS agents would never demand payment by wire transfer.

According to Amy Kempe, a spokesperson for Kilmartin’s office, said the scheme isn’t just targeting seniors and the calls often come from outside the country.

“The red flag is that they’ll always request immediate payment,” she said. “The FBI has reported that over $23 million has been lost nationally to the IRS scam. That’s why they continue to call people because it works.”

If you get a call like this, hang up and alert the attorney general’s office right away.

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