Don't fall for fake 'IRS agent' phone scam

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's happening all over the country. People are receiving a terrifying call from the IRS stating they owe back taxes and if they don't pay up they are going to jail. It's a call to raise the hairs on your back. But experts warn if you get one of these calls, don't panic and just hang up.

The April 15th tax deadline is less than a month away, which means more people could get these types of calls. And if you take the bait and pay up -- it could cost you thousands.

When Pirooz Dadbeh received a call from someone claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, he was told something quite alarming.

"Charged with tax evasion for my taxes that I filed between 2008 and 2013," said Pirooz.

Fear set in from there.

"It has been dispatched to local law enforcement, sheriff's office, and other local law enforcement agencies," said Pirooz.

Karen Narum received a similar call and when she returned the call she was told something alarming.

"If I didn't take care of this matter, that there would be a warrant for my arrest," said Narum.

Narum says the posing agent told her to make an immediate payment to avoid being arrested. So she went to the bank... got cash, and drove to her local Walmart.

"I paid for 4 Green Dot Pre-Paid cards at customer service," said Narum.

Then she called the posing IRS agent back and gave him the Green Dot card information.

"He says I'm going to put you on hold and see if we're good to go here, for the next step," said Narum.

And that was the last time she heard from the so called agent. Soon after, she realized it was just a scam and she was out nearly 3-thousand dollars.

CPA, Bob Martin says if you *do* owe back taxes, the IRS will *not* notify you over the phone.

"They are going to contact you through the mail. And there may be a follow up call but you're going to get something on paper," said Martin.

Martin says these scammers tend to be successful because they rely on scare tactics by threatening immediate jail time. But that's not how the IRS operates.

"The IRS doesn't send police to your house. If you have a major tax problem, it's going to be a long time, and it's going to be federal agents that come take you away if that's necessary," said Martin.

As for Narum, she's hoping to get the word out so others don't fall victim.

"I've seen people on television go how in the world did they fall victim to this. Well you know what, now I understand," said Narum.

Pirooz was lucky enough to not take the bait. Narum is waiting to hear back from the Green Dot bank to see if any of her funds can be returned. Remember, if you get a call like this just hang up.
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