Look out for robocalls offering bogus tax help this week in Florida

April 18 deadline does not mean imposters will stop calling

With April 18 upon us, the IRS and tax assistance imposters are connecting with residents across the state with the help of scripted robocalls.

John Haraburda of Washington-based Transaction Network Services told News 6 that in just one week, TNS traced more than 188,000 tax-related robocalls in Florida based on data from the carriers it serves.

“They want to attack specific segments of the population: elderly and immigrants, " Haraburda said. “It’s a countrywide issue.”

The end game, as with any scheme, is your money.

According to the IRS, thousands of people have lost millions of dollars to various tax scams executed with the help of robocalls.

Harabuda said Florida consumers reported receiving messages from so-called Ghost Tax Preparers — who offer low-cost service to complete your taxes — IRS imposters demanding payment, and IRS tax services.

“Unless you trust the person who is calling you, unless you have the awareness of who they are and trust them, be really hesitant on sharing personal information with anybody,” Harabuda said.

Even though Tuesday is the IRS tax deadline this year (the typical April 15 deadline fell on a Saturday), the bogus calls are expected to continue.

The IRS website reminds taxpayers the agency will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Call unexpectedly about a tax refund.

For more information on IRS imposters, click here.

About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.