The Woodburn Police Department is reaching out to residents to warn them about recent phone scams involving fake IRS communication.
A Woodburn resident recently contacted the Woodburn Police Department about a scam that targeted the resident. Someone claiming to be from the IRS had called the resident in an attempt to obtain personal information. Fortunately, the resident was not fooled by the call.
This scam is not uncommon — the IRS has a page on its website devoted to this type of scam. And the scam doesn't only take place on the phone — scammers sometimes impersonate IRS officials in person, via email, over social media or in text messages.
In general, the scammer will attempt to obtain personal and financial information. They will later use this information to defraud the victim. They may even attempt to receive a payment from the victim by threatening legal consequences.
The city of Woodburn reminds residents that the IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
While there are some special circumstances in which IRS representatives will call or come to a home or business, taxpayers will generally receive several letters from the IRS beforehand. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages, or social media.
And the IRS never calls to demand immediate payment through a specific payment method (such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer), never demands that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed, and never threatens to bring in law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
The IRS also cannot revoke your driver's license, business licenses, or immigration status. According to the IRS, threats like these are common tactics used by scammers.
If an IRS representative visits you, he or she will always provide two forms of official credentials called a pocket commission and an HSPD-12 card. You have the right to see these credentials.
IRS collection employees do sometimes call or come to a home or business unannounced to collect a tax debt. They will not, however, demand that you make an immediate payment to a source other than the U.S. Treasury.
For more information on what the IRS can or cannot do, go to https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-know-its-really-the-irs-calling-or-knocking-on-your-door-0.
If you have received contact from someone claiming to be an IRS representative but you aren't sure if it is a scam, the Woodburn Police Department suggests individuals call the IRS immediately to confirm that it does not need any information from you. Individual taxpayers can call 800-829-1040. For more contact information, go to www.irs.gov/help-resources/telephone-assistance.
If you are targeted by a scammer, report it to the Federal Trade Commission by going to www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
The Woodburn Police Department reminds residents that to avoid being the victim of a scam, remember to always question the caller and never give out your personal information over the phone.