Ohio Attorney General warns of scammers on Tax Day

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's that time of year again.

A time when Americans rush to pay their taxes before Tuesday's midnight deadline.

And with that mad rush brings opportunities for scammers, warns the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

A WBNS employee received a suspicious call Tuesday claiming that he and his loved ones owed thousands of dollars and demanded their personal information.

10TV News called the suspicious numbers back.

When a WBNS reporter identified himself, the woman on the other end of the line hung up.

We also checked in with the Attorney General's Office to see if the office had seen an increase in the number of scam-related tax calls.

Spokeswoman Kate Hanson told 10TV News that the office has received nearly 200 complaints in April.

In March, the Ohio Attorney General’s Help Center logged more than 340 reports of tax scams, compared to about 160 in January and 280 in February.

"It's still good to be very cautious," Hanson said. "If you get a phone call threatening you, that's likely a scam."

The Ohio Attorney General's Office also released these tips to avoid a scam earlier this month:

  • Don’t trust threatening callers. If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone who threatens to arrest you for not paying taxes, be very skeptical, especially if you never received any written notice.
  • Avoid making payments over the phone. Don’t trust someone who demands that you pay immediately over the phone using a gift card or by sending a wire transfer. These are preferred payment methods for scam artists because once sent, it’s very difficult to trace or recover the money. The real IRS won’t demand that you pay over the phone using one of these specific methods.
  • Don’t respond to illegal robocalls in any way. Don’t interact with the caller, and don’t call a number left on your phone or in a message. Responding to a scam call can result in even more calls because it lets con artists know that your phone number belongs to a real person.
  • Don’t always trust caller ID. Scammers may “spoof” a phone number, making the number on your caller ID appear to be from the IRS, even when it’s not. For example, a call may appear to be coming from a 202 (Washington D.C.) area code, when it’s actually coming from another country.
  • Check into call-blocking options. Find out if services are available through your phone carrier, your phone itself, or third-party apps to help you stop unwanted calls.

IRS or U.S. Treasury impersonation scams can be reported to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.treasury.gov/tigta or 800-366-4484. Consumers also can contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515 for help detecting a scam.