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Virginia State Police warns of ‘sophisticated’ IRS phone cloning scam

CHATHAM, Va. – Virginia State Police is warning residents about a phone cloning scam where scammers impersonate IRS officials and demand an immediate payment.

Investigators said over the last 24 hours they have received three calls about IRS-impersonation telephone calls linked to a Virginia State Police Area 43 Office in Chatham.

Two calls were to Virginians and the third was to a New Yorker.

In a tactic to convince victims they are legitimate, officials say scammers have cloned the Virginia State Police office’s main number, 434-432-7287.

State Police said this is a common ploy utilized by scammers as the annual IRS filing season comes to an end.

Similar sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country, according to the IRS website.

“Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, using 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,” State Police said in a statement.

State Police said victims may be threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

They said scammers even become hostile and insulting if the victim doesn’t comply with their demands.

The Internal Revenue Service will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Some con artists have used video relay services (VRS) to try to scam deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Taxpayers are urged not trust calls just because they are made through VRS, as interpreters don’t screen calls for validity. For more details see the IRS YouTube video: Tax Scams via Video Relay Service.

If a taxpayer receives an unsolicited email that appears to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), report it by sending it to phishing@irs.gov. Learn more by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page.