SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO - The Internal Revenue Service is warning the public of a widespread phone scam in which phony IRS agents get victims to pay money based on false tax bills.

In several recent cases in South San Francisco, fake agents contacted residents and said they owed large amounts of money in back taxes, according to police.

The scammers threatened arrest if the victims did not make a payment using an untraceable, pre-loaded debit card with an access number, police said.

The latest reported victim lost $2,000 in the scam, police said.

According to the IRS, the phone scam has become "pervasive" during tax season.

"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement.

"If somebody unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn't the IRS calling," Werfel said.

IRS agents do not ask taxpayers for confidential PINs, passwords or access information to credit card, bank or other financial accounts, officials said.

Anyone who owes taxes or has a payment issue should call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.

Anyone who thinks they have been victimized by an IRS scam should contact local police or the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov.


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