WNYers targeted by fake IRS calls

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) —  Residents in Western New York are again the target of phony IRS calls.

The Erie County Sheriff’s office is warning residents that these calls are a scam. The Sheriff’s office received numerous calls Saturday morning reporting callers claiming to be agents, officers or officials of the IRS. These callers can be very persuasive, even threatening to those who are skeptical.

A real call from the IRS will never be threatening, according to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

“The scammers, the way they are threatening people, is not the way we do business,” Koskinen said. “We will never ask people to make a payment, and demand it on the phone. Even if you expect to hear from us, that is not the way we do it.”

The first time the IRS contacts those with back taxes or issues is always by a letter, Koskinen said. So if a letter hasn’t been received — he said the calls are almost guaranteed to be fake.

Calls like this circulate the area frequently. New York State has set up a website for residents to report impersonation scams, tax evasion schemes and identity theft. That website can be found by clicking this link.

The Better Business Bureau has also set up a scam tracker website where you can search and report scams in your area. That website can be found by clicking here.


Common scams people are encouraged to report include the following:

  • Posing as a treasury or other state officials, notifying people they have a large sum of money to collect, but need to submit a payment of $250 to collect it.
  • Affordable Care Act penalty threats from tax preparers, who advise their clients to pay penalties directly to them, then pocket the funds.
  • Threatening IRS phone calls to tax preparers, demanding client information.
  • IRS phone scam from consumers, threatening arrest or penalties if a sum isn’t paid immediately.
  • Phishing emails are abound, too. New York warns it will never ask for personal information by email.

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