HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Jolanie Martinez
As tax season wraps up, Hawaii residents are being bombarded with calls from people claiming to be with the IRS, demanding and threatening to take action if you don't pay up.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges people to be on your toes for IRS scams.
These con-artists are usually after your money, financial information, and identity.
"For the fake IRS calls it usually involves somebody threatening to take your home or to send you to jail. And right now they're asking people to pay up front and either cash or money order or some sort of debit card which the IRS would never do," said Jason Kama, Director of Marketing and Communications for the BBB.
Many taxpayers have become victims of these scams because they are convinced that the fake IRS callers are real and are threatening to take away their home and send them to jail.
According to the IRS, about 860,000 people have come across these scams since October 2013. Five thousand people have fallen into these traps costing them a total of $26.5 million.
To avoid becoming a victim:
- Know that the IRS will NEVER call you and ask for any personal information over the phone or tell you they are going to arrest or sue you. Most cases that the IRS will make with you involve an appointment for you to call them directly.
- Remember to write down the phone number so you can report the call.
- Do not give up any information during the call and if you have received a message that fits this pattern, do not call them back.
- If you have already given them information, do not send them any money. Call the BBB to report your case and we can help you take the next steps to protect your identity.
- Put a “fraud watch” on your credit report so that you can be alerted if any unusual transactions occur.
- For more tips you can go to http://www.bbb.org/hawaii/