IRS LogoSome Iowans have been victims of a phone scams where the caller claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service.

IRS spokesman, Chris Miller, says Iowa ranked 34th for number of scam victims.

“According to numbers recently released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, there have been around 20 victims in Iowa so far since this scam began about two-and-a-half years ago,” Miller says. “And they have lost around $85,000.”

Miller says the Iowans are a small part of the overall picture. “Across the country…more than 5,000 victims have lost more than $26.5 million,” Miller says. He says the scam is fairly simple.

“Taxpayers get a call from someone pretending to be the IRS. They says the person owes taxes — and if they don’t pay immediately by a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer — then they are threatened with arrest, or deportation, or loss of their driver’s license,” Miller explains.

Miller says this type of phone call should immediately raise a red flag.”We will not threaten, or call you out of the blue to demand payment,” Miller says. He has this advice for dealing with the scam calls. Miller says if you get such a call, you should hang up, and don’t engage with the caller. He says you can report the call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.