By Jennifer G. Hayden, Esq.

A financial scam has been reported in Maine in recent months.  It goes something like this:

            The caller will call a Maine resident and demand payment for IRS tax debt.  Often times, the caller has sensitive information about the resident that seems credible.  The resident is told in no uncertain terms that if he or she does not remit payment within a few hours, he or she will be arrested.  Payment is demanded by payment card, usually a Green Dot prepaid debit/credit card.  The resident is told to go and purchase one of these cards and then call the caller back and read the verification numbers.  When the resident calls back, the phone is answered “Internal Revenue Service.”  The caller ID indicates the call is originating from Washington, DC.

            This is a very sophisticated scam and one that has been seen across the country.  It is very likely that it originates in a foreign country and so prosecuting the perpetrators is very difficult.

            You should know:

  1. The IRS never specifically demands payment within the hour through the use of Green Dot prepaid debit cards.
  2. You should never comply with one of these demands without verifying who is calling you and whether you owe actually owe tax debt.
  3. If you are called by someone purporting to be the IRS, you should hang up and call the local IRS office to confirm that you indeed owe money and ask whether you were called to make a payment. If possible, you should make your payments in person.
  4. The IRS rarely uses its police powers to arrest people who owe taxes. Owing taxes to any tax authority is never a good scenario.  Bankruptcy can help many people who owe taxes – consulting with a bankruptcy attorney if you have tax debt makes very good sense.  Molleur Law offers risk-free initial consultations for bankruptcy analysis.  Call and make an appointment with us today!
  5. Do not give personal information to people who call you claiming to be debt collectors.
  6. Report these incidents to your local police department.