Scammers try to take advantage of tax season

Posted: Updated:
LAKE RONKONKOMA -

A Suffolk County couple says aggressive phone scammers have repeatedly targeted them this tax season, and they say they want to help other people avoid becoming victims.

Susan Bonelli says she received three voicemails in one day from a threatening caller claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

She says the caller tried to fool her into thinking she'd be arrested if she didn't call back.

But Bonelli has 50 years of experience in the banking businesses, and she says she smelled a rat.

"I know enough that it's a scam, but there's so many people that don't know," she says. "I'm just hoping people become aware, and it doesn't frighten senior citizens. Because there are a lot of them that do get very nervous about this, and they'd be ready to spend the money, and it's not right."

The IRS says scammers have stolen millions of dollars and victims' personal information over the years.

"Under no circumstances does the IRS call you out of the blue, threaten arrest or lawsuit or deportation or revocation of a business license," a spokesperson for the federal agency tells News 12. "We don't demand immediate tax payment."

The IRS says that if you were being investigated for tax fraud or another matter, the agency would notify you by mail.

And Suffolk police say no government agency would ever ask you to pay a debt or fine with a gift card, iTunes or Western Union.

"That's another thing that people need to watch out for," says Detective Thomas Gabriele. 

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    Trump and Putin hold summit in Helsinki

    (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

    Sights and scenes at President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, July 16, 2018. Images via Getty.

  • Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Surf Lodge in Montauk summer lineup

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

    Various bands will perform at the Surf Lodge this summer.

    Visit the Surf Lodge website for more information.

  • 2018 Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill lineup

    2018 Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill lineup

    Tuesday, April 17 2018 12:25 PM EDT2018-04-17 16:25:59 GMT
    LIT will perform as part of the Loudwire's Gen-X Summer on Thursday, July 26 at 6 p.m. Other performers include Buckcherry, POD and Alien Ant Farm.LIT will perform as part of the Loudwire's Gen-X Summer on Thursday, July 26 at 6 p.m. Other performers include Buckcherry, POD and Alien Ant Farm.

    A look at the performers coming to the Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill in 2018.

    A look at the performers coming to the Pennysaver Amphitheater at Bald Hill in 2018.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."