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IRS Scam Cons Arizona Residents Out Of $80,000

Matt Richards says the IRS impersonation scam continues to grow nationwide.
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
Matt Richards says the IRS impersonation scam continues to grow nationwide.

Officials with the Internal Revenue Service say a large-scale phone scam has conned Arizona residents out of about $80,000 since January.

The scammers have been posing as IRS employees. They insist the person on the line owes the agency money and demand payment through pre-paid credit cards or money wire transfers, threatening arrest or deportation for noncompliance.

Matt Richards is a special agent with the Treasury Department’s Inspector General Office. He said this is the largest IRS impersonation scam the agency has seen.

"We now have over 100,000 complaints that have come into our agency. And it’s growing everyday," said Richards. "Everyday we’re getting hundreds of calls nationwide. Over 1,200 victims now and over $5 million."

Richards adds the IRS will never "cold call" a taxpayer to collect money owed and will not demand payment immediately.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.