By Jim Donovan: The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs today warned consumers about a scam in which New Jerseyans received phone calls from con artists claiming to be representatives of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The con artists threaten the consumers that they will face incarceration or other penalties unless they make an immediate payment for back taxes. The Division of Consumer Affairs has received approximately 12 complaints from New Jersey consumers who received such calls in recent weeks.

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This phone scam may be a form of phishing, in which identity thieves attempt to obtain the victim’s personal information such as Social Security Numbers, credit card or bank account numbers, or other sensitive data. The scammers also may direct victims to send money through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.

Consumer Advice:

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• Consumers who receive such a phone call should simply hang up. Do not provide any personal information or make any payment to the callers.

• File a complaint about the call with your local police department. Then report the incident to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484, and to the Federal Trade Commission through its “FTC Complaint Assistant” at

• If you actually owe unpaid taxes to the IRS, or think you may owe unpaid taxes, you can call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. IRS employees at that line can help with a payment issue – and help determine whether there truly is an issue.

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• Learn more about how to prevent identity theft at the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Cyber Safe NJ website,
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.