The IRS never rings

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014

If someone claiming to be the IRS calls and says you owe money on your taxes, hang up.

Don’t trust the information on caller I.D. Don’t give out any personal information.

Just hang up.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service does not collect taxes over the phone. But scammers dupe a lot of people by warning that a deputy will be knocking on your door if you don’t send money for taxes immediately.

The scam has reached an unprecedented level, blanketing the nation with increasingly aggressive phone calls. According to authorities, 225,000 people have lost $11 million since October 2013 to these con artists.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper is among those warning consumers not to fall for phone schemes. Meanwhile, authorities need to double down on tracking these fraudsters. And telecommunications companies can help by refining their technology to be less vulnerable to fake caller identification and more vigilant about flagging accounts that make thousands of telemarketing calls.

Yes, consumers need to be vigilant. But that can’t be the only solution to rampant telephone rip-offs.