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Local expert offers tips so you don’t become a scam victim this tax season

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Now that tax season is in full swing, so are the scams.

It's a $10 million-a-year business, said Andy Phillips, director of the Tax Institute for H&R Block.

FOX4 Problem Solvers received its first taste of this season's scam via a computer-generated phone call. It was a warning that we owed money to the IRS and could be facing severe penalties if we didn't immediately pay it.

"The IRS is never going to begin by giving you a phone call and demanding immediate payment," said Phillips.

If you actually owe money to the IRS, you'll be contacted by mail.

Scammers are after two things. They either want your personal information, including birth date and Social Security number, so they can file a fake return in your name and keep the refund. Or the scammers want you to pay them immediately via a Green Dot card or gift card, which can't be easily tracked.

Phillips said the number of scams are growing every year.

"It`s a lot of organized crimes or certain nation states because the payoff is so large," he said.

So what should you do if you get a call? Quickly hang up the phone. Remember it's not the IRS. But if you want to make sure, go to the IRS' website. You can check out your tax account online or have it mailed to you. Or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

You can also report IRS scams you encounter to phishing@irs.gov or to the Federal Trade Commission.

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