After several recent reports of a common IRS telephone scam targeting Damariscotta residents, the Damariscotta Police Department is urging residents to beware.
The scammers call, claim to work for the IRS, say the target owes money to the IRS, and threaten the target with arrest if they do not pay. The caller then demands immediate payment with a credit card or debit card.
Damariscotta Police Department Sgt. Jason Warlick encourages any Damariscotta resident who receives such a call to hang up and report the call to the department at 563-1909. The scammers sometimes leave voice mails, and anyone who receives such a voice mail should not return the call.
Residents should never give out sensitive personal information to any caller, Warlick said. No Damariscotta residents have paid the scammers so far, he said.
Approximately 1,100 victims had lost an estimated $5 million to IRS scams as of a year ago, according to the IRS.
“Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a warning about the scams last year. “A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and (urge) immediate payment. This is not how we operate.”
The IRS never asks for credit card or debit card information over the telephone, never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations, never requests immediate payment over the telephone, and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation, according to the warning on the IRS website.
The IRS encourages anyone who receives a scam call to report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. For more information, go to www.irs.gov and type “scam” in the search box.