Tax season may be over but IRS scams are not

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Tax season may have passed but people in Bay County are still reporting IRS scams.

Kim Sullivan narrowly missed becoming a scammer's next victim. She was woken up Monday morning by startling call. A lady claiming to be from the IRS said Sullivan owed more than $8,000 in back taxes. She had to pay up immediately or she faced arrest.

"When I said I didn't have that kind of money, she said they were going to arrest me," said Sullivan.

Sullivan claimed she had no reason not to believe them.

"They had my name, my address, my place of employment, my amount of my taxes that I filed this year."

So she called the Bay County Sheriff's Office to ask about her arrest warrant and learned the whole encounter was a scam. Thankfully she did not give them any of her banking information.

Others haven't been so lucky. According to BCSO, people in Bay County have lost around $100,000 to tax scams in the past two years.

Law enforcement officers say it's not only our area. These scams are a nationwide problem.

"Our country is losing millions upon millions of dollars every year to these scams," said Paul Vecker, a criminal investigator for BCSO. "And they're not stopping. They're getting bigger and bigger every year."

The sheriff's office says because most of these are tied to international crime rings, getting people their money back is next to impossible.

BCSO also wants people to know the IRS will never call you on the phone. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and notify the sheriff's department immediately.