New IRS scam targets immigrants - CBS46 News

New IRS scam targets immigrants

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(Source: AP) (Source: AP)

There's a new scam involving the IRS and it happens with a simple phone call. Brookhaven police tell us scammers are mostly preying on immigrants.

With the government turning up the heat on immigration enforcement, the fear of being caught and deported has thousands of families with undocumented relatives living in terror with many trying to disappear from view.

"It's really hard. My mom works two days out of the week and I have to leave work for me to go pick her up from work and drop her off at home. She does not want to drive anymore, she's really scared," says a young woman who asked not to be identified.

She was born in America, but her mother was not.

She says a recent visit by immigration authorities has only made the family's fear worse.

"I have two little sisters and they can't be without their mom...and it's just horrible," she said.

It is precisely that sense of dread that makes the immigrant community a prime target for scammers, especially during tax season. Many use robocalls that threaten their victims with arrest if they don't pay fines. Others pose as tax prepares and steal their identities to get the refunds themselves.

And still, others use public records to see if there are any real tax liens against their victims, making their false threats even more frightening. 

In January alone, the IRS estimates the reported losses to families robbed of their refunds is more than a million dollars. The unreported losses are believed to be much higher.

The IRS doesn't want your money in a prepaid card. And agents won't threaten to arrest or deport you.

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