(MTN News-BOZEMAN)  Scores of people across Montana have been reporting what appears to a wide-spread scam attempt.

People are reporting receiving an automated telephone message informing them they have a warrant issued for them for failing to pay taxes.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox provided this information in a press release:

These callers are attempting to trick unsuspecting taxpayers into believing they owe tax debt and need to make payments immediately over the phone.  The scammers can be aggressive and sometimes threatening. The callers are even going so far as to tell Montanans that they will take legal action or have the taxpayer arrested if he or she fails to immediately pay the supposed debt. The callers demand payment by credit cards, prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. Sometimes, the callers are even leaving voicemails for taxpayers to call back.  Once the potential victim returns the call, the scammer immediately goes into their demands for immediate payment.  The calls are believed to be originating from overseas locations and phone numbers are “spoofed,” making tracking the individuals carrying out theses scams very difficult.

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Several agencies across the state posted on Thursday to Facebook about the scam.

The Bozeman Police Department said: “Dispatch called to report about a dozen complaints of people receiving calls supposedly from the IRS telling them to pay or face going to jail.  This is a scam and NO money should be sent.  If you are really concerned about owing the IRS money, you may call them directly.  The IRS does not call you and threaten to have you arrested.  Be strong!”

The Meagher County office of Disaster & Emergency Services posted: “The IRS scam has hit White Sulphur Springs hard today. Dispatch has received numerous calls. Please be aware that this is a scam.”

The Helena/Lewis & Clark 911 Center reports having received nearly 100 calls today from people reporting the scam attempt.

The Helena Police Department says that the IRS will not contact people by telephone for tax issues.

The best approach with a scam is to hang up the phone. Do not engage them in a conversation or argument. Scammers rely upon people’s trust and what’s usually common courtesy to not be rude and hang up on them.

If you believe a solicitation is real, demand any information in writing.

If you have fallen victim to this or any scam, contact the police department to report it and for advice in protecting your identity should thieves attempt using your personal information.

Do not provide personal or financial information to people you do not know over the telephone.

For those who wish to file a report of the scam, they’re asked to call the Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection at 406-444-4500.

Visit the Montana Office of Consumer Protection website for information about protecting yourself from scammers.

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