IRS scammers using scare tactics to target victims for money in huge scheme

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'It Sounded Too Bizarre': New IRS Scam Costing Taxpayers Millions

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (WITI) -- It's an old scam with new tricks and it's costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Con artists are duping people out of money by posing as the IRS and using scare tactics, causing folks to fork up money.

The Better Business Bureau says it's getting dozens of calls a day about the scam and says it's the largest scam the IRS has ever seen. The posers seem to be targeting senior citizens and immigrants, and many of these calls are coming to residents in our area.

SEE ALSO: IRS: Computer breach bigger than first thought; 334K Victims

The sounds of deception can seem all too real. But thankfully, Ted Willett didn't take the bait.

"It sounded too bizarre," said Willett.

Fraudulent calls from someone claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service are happening at an alarming rate, causing major concern.

"I was very nervous and upset," said Eora Williams, who received IRS scam call.

Williams received a similar voicemail and called the number back. The man on the phone made aggressive demands.

"Whoever has been doing your taxes has been doing them wrong. You failed to sign your taxes from 2012-2013 and you owe the Internal Revenue Service," said Williams.

Williams was told she owed nearly $4,000 and needed to pay up or else.

"The sheriff will pic you up and you spend 15 years in prison," said Williams.

But when she questioned him further about her professional information...

"He hung up," said Williams.

Williams wasn't duped, but Lisa Schiller with the Better Business Bureau says thousands of Americans have.

"There have been about 90,000 complaints filed since the beginning of the year until about the middle of August. Of those 90,000 complaints that have been filed, there have been about 1,000 victims who have lost a total of $5 million," said Schiller.

And once the crooks get the funds, your money is as good as gone.

"It's hard to catch these perpetrators because generally they are overseas and they are using spoofing technology for telephones," said Schiller.

Something to know? The IRS will never angrily demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill — or threaten to have you arrested for not paying.

Officials say if you do get one of these calls, take down the number and report the call so authorities can keep track and work on trying to find the people responsible.

Related - Photos of the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen​:

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
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IRS scammers using scare tactics to target victims for money in huge scheme
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 2, 2015, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee hearing examining the IRS data breach. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, before the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing to examine the Internal Revenue Service Operations and the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen is sworn in before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. The IRS asserts it can't produce emails from seven officials connected to the tea party investigation because of computer crashes, including the emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, right, shakes hands with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., left, before the start of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs hearing, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington, investigating the IRS' targeting of conservative organizations. Koskinen was testifying before the committee. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 02: I.R.S. Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before the Senate Finance Committee June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of 'Internal Revenue Service Data Theft Affecting Taxpayer Information.' (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: The House Oversight and Government Reform's Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) (C) and ranking member Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) (L) hear testimony from Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill September 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Oversight and Government Reform Committee continues to investigate the IRS for targeting political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JULY 31: Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen speaks to the media during a visit to the Miami office at the Claude Pepper Federal Building on July 31, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Koskinen is touring several IRS offices since he became head of the nation's tax agency. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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