Scammers try to take advantage of tax season

Posted: Updated:

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. 

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