With the IRS phone scam continuing to persist, hitting taxpayers across the country, Tax Defense Network advises taxpayers to be alert and wary of any contact received over the phone or email from the Internal Revenue Service.

In this scam, taxpayers receive a phone call allegedly from the IRS. They are told that they owe back taxes and that they must immediately pay via a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. People who hesitate or do not immediately cooperate with this alleged IRS agent’s demands are threatened with arrest, deportation, or drivers or business license revocation.

“The scammers use threats to try to make you panic and act quickly without really thinking it through,” says Scott O’Connor, Business Development Analyst at Tax Defense Network. “This works because many people, particularly recent immigrants, don’t really know IRS rules and regulations. The IRS will never ask for payment over the phone, not with pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers, but someone unfamiliar with common IRS procedures wouldn’t know this.”

This scam is particularly ingenious because the scammers use convincing means to persuade taxpayers they are receiving calls from IRS. They are able to manipulate caller IDs to show that the call is from the IRS. They also use fake names and IRS badge numbers to make themselves seem like real IRS agents.

Even more disturbing, often these scammers are able to recite the last four digits of their victim’s social security number. After threatening arrest, deportation, or license revocation, the scammers will hang up and call back pretending to be the local police or DMV, again with caller ID supporting the claim. Victims may also receive bogus IRS letters or emails to support the phone call.

“These scam artists can be very convincing, so if you get a phone call telling you that you owe money to the IRS, the best thing to do is contact the IRS yourself,” Scott advises. “You can call the IRS’ toll-free number [800-829-1040], and an IRS representative will let you know your status.”

Taxpayers should remember that the IRS does not ever initiate contact with taxpayers through email. The IRS will never ask for private identification numbers (PINs) or confidential information for credit card, bank, or other financial accounts. Tax Defense Network advises all taxpayers never to give out their private information to anyone they are not sure they can trust.

Tax Defense Network is a national tax debt resolution company with an A+ Better Business Bureau rated tax team. To date, Tax Defense Network has helped thousands of taxpayers, including individuals and small businesses, with their tax problems.