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Western Union Urges Consumers to Stay Alert for IRS Impersonation Phone Scam

February 12, 2016

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, urges consumers to stay alert for an aggressive and growing IRS impersonation phone scam targeting taxpayers.

The scammers, involved in incidents nationwide, claim to be employees of the IRS, alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling and use false names and IRS identification badge numbers.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid immediately through a pre-loaded debit card or money transfer company. If the individual refuses to cooperate, the scammer becomes hostile and threatens arrest, deportation, or suspension of a driver’s license or passport.

“Awareness and education are the best tools we have in the joint fight against fraud,” said Dan Marostica, Vice President Consumer Protection Compliance, Western Union. “Scammers try to use good people and financial services companies to steal money. Knowing what to look for is key in identifying warning signs of a scam and then avoiding it.”

“At Western Union, we are dedicated to fighting fraud and helping consumers protect themselves – the company proactively works with authorities, consumer-protection agencies and other organizations to help stop fraud,” added Marostica.

To stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure, visit: https://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts. The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten the force of local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Information on other scams and how to protect yourself are also available at the Western Union Consumer Protection Center: www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.

If you sent a Western Union Money Transfer® transaction and believe you may be a victim of fraud, call our Fraud Hotline number at 1 (800) 448-1492.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of December 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks, and included the capability to send money to over one billion accounts. In 2015, The Western Union Company completed 262 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $82 billion of principal between consumers, and 508 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

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Source: Western Union

Western Union Media Contact:

Rachel Rogala, 1 720-332-2686

rachel.rogala@westernunion.com