COMMACK - Tax scammers are targeting their victims with phone calls to steal credit card information and money, according to officials, accountants and people who have avoided becoming victims.
Branko Grbic, of Commack, says that the callers pose as IRS agents and use scare tactics to try and solicit money.
"They'll say they're an officer," Grbic says. "They're a federal officer, working with the IRS, and you owe them money, and that you know, they have members, federal officers within the vicinity to arrest you."
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Grbic is one of thousands of people across the country who've been targeted by fake IRS officers. The imposters tell their victims that they owe tax money to the IRS and will be arrested unless they pay immediately with a credit card over the phone.
"When I heard this, I know better, you know," Grbic says. "I'm first-generation American, but I know better than to dish out my credit card to anybody."
The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration says that nearly 4,000 victims have reported more than $20 million in financial losses as a result of tax scam phone calls.
"The phone call or the email is usually the red flag, because the IRS doesn't use that," says Bob Bertucelli, of the accounting firm Levine & Ciacco. "They have very specific guidelines. They're required to contact the taxpayers the first time around using regular mail."
Bertucelli says if you receive a scam call, ask the caller to contact your accountant and hang up.
"Don't give your information to these people," he says.