County receives fake IRS fax

Published 7:16 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Escambia County Commission received a spoof fax from the IRS on Tuesday.

County Administrator Tony Sanks said that his office received a fax that appeared to be from the IRS, but it seemed fishy since the IRS doesn’t make contact via fax.

“They were asking certain employees information to verify income withholding, and the fax included employee names and Social Security Numbers,” he said. “The fax was very legitmate looking, but after talking to the IRS and looking up the form numbers, I found they were not correct.”

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Sanks said the employees in question were no longer working for the county, but had worked there in 2017.

Sanks said the fax came on the Department of Treasury letterhead, but he wanted to pass along what happened in order to prevent someone else from being a potential victim.

Note that the IRS does not:

• Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.

• Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.

• Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

• Scams take many shapes and forms, such as phone calls, letters and emails. Many IRS impersonators use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a fabricated tax bill. They may even threaten to arrest or deport their would-be victim if the victim doesn’t comply.