Sheriff warns of IRS tax scam

Staff Report

The Surry County Sheriff’s Office released a statement over the weekend warning the community about a telephone scam where callers posing as an Internal Revenue Service agent use fake names and badge numbers to collect fictitious back taxes.

“Don’t talk to them,” said Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson. “The IRS communicates through direct mail. They do not communicate through telephone.”

The scammers advise taxpayers that they owe back taxes and are required to make immediate payment through wire transfers or credit card payments.

These callers often have personal information of their targets such as the last four digits of their social security number.

They may threaten targets with arrest, deportation, suspension of a driver’s license, or to send local law enforcement to arrest them.

“People get nervous when they hear IRS,” the sheriff said. “They don’t always think clearly.”

The callers may leave voice messages with an urgent callback request.

“They called one lady eight times,” Atkinson said.

The IRS is aware of this continuing scam and offers additional information on their website

The IRS website states that the IRS will never:

  • call to demand immediate payment
  • call without first having mailed a bill
  • demand payment without the opportunity of appeal
  • require a specific method of payment such as prepaid debit card
  • ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone
  • threaten to bring in law enforcement to enforce non-payment.

The Sheriff’s statement also warned about similar email scams: “The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email and they never request personal or financial information.”

Email scams should be forwarded to, and victims of these scams should contact the Sheriff’s Office.

Staff Report

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