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Contributor

One of the six tips offered today to avoid tax scams is threatening phone calls from someone proporting to be an IRS agent or enforcement official, demanding money for immediate relief of your "crime."  I would amplify this warning by being alert for the following:

 

   --the scammer introduces himself by giving his/her first and last names.  Legitimate IRS agents only refer to themselves as "Mr. Jones" or "Ms Smith," but never as "Joe Jones."

 

   --they threaten to arrest you within 30 minutes of ending the call if you refuse to pay.  I think we all know that law enforcement agencies do not give criminals advance notice of their arrest!

 

   --the bogus agent advises you that two officials from Homeland Security will be arresting you.  The IRS has its own enforcement division, and if you were truly guilty of a crime, they will send their own agents to arrest you, and not those of another government agency.

 

   --the caller asks "How are you doing?"  This is not a sales call and the real IRS doesn't care "how you're doing."