PLEASANTON -- Police departments throughout the Bay Area are warning residents about a prolific scam in which suspects pose as Internal Revenue Service agents and ask victims to pay outstanding taxes using a reloadable card.
In Pleasanton, local police have received multiple reports of callers who tell residents that they owe money to the IRS because of a discrepancy on their taxes, then ask them to go to a local store and purchase a reloadable card. The callers then ask the victims to provide the card and pin number to the caller.
Similar incidents have been reported in South San Francisco, with residents often believing the callers because they have access to their personal information, such as dates of birth.
In some cases, the callers even threatened arrest if the victims did not make payment.
One victim reportedly lost $2,000, police said.
"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country," said IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. "Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a prepaid debit card or wire transfer."
Werfel added that IRS typically makes initial contact via email and never ask taxpayers for confidential PINs, passwords or access information to their credit card or bank.
"If someone 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.
Anyone who owes taxes or has a payment issue may call the IRS directly at (800) 829-1040.
Contact Karina Ioffee at 650-576-9626. Follow her at Twitter.com/kioffee.