AG warns of ‘back taxes’ scam


The attorney general’s office has issued a scam warning to Rhode Islanders following a recent spike in complaints regarding unsolicited phone calls from individuals posing as IRS employees.

Individuals targeted by the scam are told they owe back taxes, and that the IRS will take legal action unless payment is provided immediately. According to the attorney general’s office, the callers will in many cases leave a voicemail with a return phone number – most likely a “spoofed” number – to create the appearance of legitimacy.

Payment is demanded by credit card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer, and while the amount varies based on the call, some consumers have been told they owe roughly $8,000.

“It is important to remember that the IRS never calls individual taxpayers demanding immediate payment. The IRS will not threaten imminent arrest for failure to pay back taxes,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “These calls are scams. Don’t be fooled by the legitimate-appearing phone number or a person who says they are a special agent. Scam artists are using technology to their advantage to pull the wool over the eyes of hard-working, taxpaying citizens. It is despicable, and the best way to stop this, and other scams, is to be a savvy and smart consumer.”

The IRS has asked those receiving a scam call to report it to the Treasury Inspector General at 800-366-4484 or


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