The IRS this spring is warning about what may be the biggest tax related phone scam in history targeting taxpayers.
And it's effective: The IRS says scammers have collected more than $1 million this year from this ruse.
Martin Lemmink recently answered his phone to learn he was in trouble with the federal government.
"He gave me a name and stated that he was from the US Treasury, and that there was some issues with my taxes,"Lemmink said.
He says the caller demanded immediate payment for back taxes.
Lemmink, not sure if it was real, hung up, and Googled the call. Good thing.
When the threatening caller called again, he was prepared.
"I told him I had discovered through some investigation that this is a scam. He then said in that case 'we are going to initiate legal proceedings', and I said I wished he would because I would call the police."
The caller, he says, hung up at that point.
Avoided Scam Many are Falling For
Lemmink had avoided being conned out of what the IRS says is the number one scam targeting taxpayers this year: threatening calls claiming you need to pay back taxes, or face arrest.
Jennifer Jenkins of the IRS said "it is a pervasive telephone scam. We wouldn't call anyone to for financial or personal information over the phone or demand immediate payment of a tax due."
Jenkins say sthe callers typically ask for your credit card number, or tell you to wire cash via Western Union.
She says the agency would never do this, and informs taxpayers by mail of any problems.
Many Seniors Falling for It
The IRS says more than 20,000 people have filed complaints to it about receiving these calls. Martin Lemmink is just hoping he can prevent a few people from falling for it.
"I started thinking of the general community and people who would be getting this call, because they are very high pressure," Lemmink said.
The IRS' advice? Warn your older relatives, because they are ones who are really being targeted here, and they may not have the internet savvy to avoid being scammed.
As always don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)