A nationwide scam involving fake Internal Revenue Service representatives has already resulted in $1 million being stolen from thousands of unsuspecting victims.
Federal authorities, who issued a warning on Thursday, are calling it “the largest scam of its kind.”
Here’s how the scam works: A fake IRS representative first tells the “intended” victim that they owe taxes, which must be paid using a pre-paid debt card or wire transfer. If the person refuses to pay, the IRS impostor threatens “arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license,” CNN Money reports.
It’s the “largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. He also said the IRS generally attempts to contact people first by mail and doesn’t demand immediate payment via debit card, credit card or wire transfer.
The IRS has reportedly received more than 20,000 reports about the scam.
Officials are advising people who receive such a call to contact the IRS.