3OYS ALERT: Scammers pose as IRS workers, leave threatening messages

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --  It's the largest IRS scam ever, and it's still going strong.

Sonia Younan and her husband like to relax at home when they can. However, as soon as they do, it always seems like their phone rings. "There are probably one or two calls from family members and the rest are from advertisers or wrong numbers," Younan tells 3 On Your Side.\

But, when the phone rang recently and she wasn't home, Younan returned to find a disturbing message.  That man on the other end of the line said, "My name is Marvin Smith. I am calling you from the IRS."

The IRS? Younan asked herself. She says her heart jumped for just a moment and then she listened to the rest of the message. "The very second that you receive this message, I need you to return the call," said the man with a very thick, foreign accent. "Thank you, and this is extremely time sensitive," he said.

The more Younan listened to that message from the guy with the heavy accent, the more she knew it was a scam.

And she's right. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service says this tax filing season has seen the highest number of reported scams ever, with taxpayers being swindled out of $1 million by very convincing con men.

Younan says she ignored the first call she received. but the guy just keeps calling back. In another message she recorded, the man threatens her if she doesn't call him back.  "If you don't return the call the only thing I can say is the situation unfolds on you. Thank you," and the message ends.

Younan says the call is very concerning. "It's scary for a second," she told us.

3 On Your Side has exposed this scam in the past.  However, we've never heard the actual scam take place or heard messages in the past.

As it turns out, people are ripped off when they call back and and are told they owe a past tax debt.  The scam continues by telling the person that if the tax debt is not paid immediately, the IRS will initiate a lawsuit and sue. Sometimes they threaten arrest or say they will call your employer.

To avoid problems, many people give in and provide their credit card number to pay off the past tax bill they don't even owe.

Younan wants others to know what to expect when they receive such a threatening phone call.  "Don't fall for it. It's just a scam."

3 On Your Side also wants to remind you that the Internal Revenue Service will never call you.  They will also never ask you to wire money or request your credit card information.