Law enforcement officials in the Albany, N.Y. area are warning people about a collection scam involving an operation that claims to be from the IRS.
The name of the company cited by callers is actually "Internal Revenue Services" rather than the actual federal agency, which uses the singular "Service" but the similarity is meant to confuse those being called, according to police. The callers threaten consumers that lawsuits will be filed. It is not clear whether those being called actually owe any money.
Glenville (N.Y.) Police Department spokesman Stephen Janik said the callers are running an obvious scam. One person called the number left on voice mail and was told to respond to an area drugstore to get some debit cards for $500 a piece. A local TV station called the same number and reported that the person who answered used profanity, poor English and finally admitted he was not with the Internal Revenue Service.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office has issued a warning about a similar phone scam telling consumers they owe back taxes to the state and they can settle it at a fraction of the cost. The AG's office said the IRS or any government agency would never demand payment by phone. They also warned consumers to never give out personal information, bank accounts and credit card numbers to callers.
The AG's office has cracked down heavily on illegal debt collection scams. Most recently, last month, it shut down payment processor New Beginnings NY Inc. and owner Kenneth Newton agreed to pay $71,640 to settle charges that the company withdrew money from consumers' bank accounts for identity theft protection that was never offered.
Newton was ordered to shut down both New Beginnings and Ironwood Management Group, a consumer collection agency he operated.
New Beginnings allegedly electronically withdrew funds from bank accounts between June 26, 2013 to July 11, 2013 and deposited the money into another account to pay for the identity theft services.