The AARP Fraud Watch Network recently issued the following scam warning:

While IRS and tax scams happen year-round, they are particularly common during tax season. These fraudsters will stop at nothing to try and scare people into being defrauded. And in certain instances, they can be convincing.

One big fraud scheme originated in India-based call centers with domestic co-conspirators. Older Americans were among the prime targets.

Typically, it begins with a phone call. The caller ID may even indicate that the call is from the IRS because type of technology is available to anyone. The message is generally similar. “You owe back taxes and must make immediate payment or face arrest and large fines…”

The scammer will demand that you pay your supposed tax obligation by wire transfer or by purchasing gift cards and supplying the number and pin on the card.

Most of these scam calls begin as robo calls. The real IRS typically initiates communications by mail, including situations where people owe delinquent taxes. No Federal agency accepts payments for any obligations by wire transfer or gift card. Therefore, it’s easy to detect a scam.

If you get a call like this, do not press a number to be connected to a live agent or call back on the number provided. If you think there is a possibility you may owe taxes, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit IRS.gov/balancedue.

When in doubt, you can call me or visit with your tax preparer to determine whether it’s legitimate or not.