Do you feel like I do about all the scams out there? It seems like more and more, I find myself not trusting anybody anymore.

There was a time when I was actually inclined to believe the person on the other end of the phone. Now, unless it's someone I know, I believe nothing.

I remember responding to things in the mail. Now we're scared to even open email.

Now it's tax time and here come another kind of crooks. People posing as IRS employees are targeting and calling tax payers at home, demanding money and threatening them with arrests or prosecution.

'The imposters can be quite convincing,' said senior editor of Consumer Reports Tobie Stanger. 'They often use phony names and IRS badge numbers. They even enlist accomplices who claim to be the police.'

Stanger said the scams, which are luring people with promises of a faster or bigger refund, are happening across the country. She said the details, even though they're phony, are what trick people like Allen Abram.

Allen Abrams was a victim of the scam and said he was shocked when someone sounding like a legitimate IRS agent called his house and demanded a $5,000 tax payment.

So how do you know if it's really the IRS calling or if it's a scam? The answer is very simple.

We got the answer from veteran tax expert Duane DeBerg of DeBerg Enterprises on South Duluth Avenue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He made it very clear.

Duane said, 'If you answer the phone and the party at the other end claims to be the IRS, you can be assured that it's not.' He told us, 'The IRS doesn't call anybody, they contact in writing only.'

DeBerg tells, 'I get letters from the IRS regularly informing me that they will only contact by mail. They make it clear that a phone call of any kind would not be the IRS. If a client get's a call on the phone by someone claiming to be the IRS, I tell them that it's a 99.9% chance that it's a scam.'

Duane says the only time you would get a call from the IRS is if you contacted them first and asked to be called back. And even then it would be highly unlikely that they would call you. They conduct their business with written documents.

If the phone rings and it's the IRS calling, simply hang up.





More From KXRB