NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A consumer warning has been issued this tax season, as officials said scam artists are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers by posing as Internal Revenue Service agents.

As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported Friday, scammers are calling people, posing as IRS agents and claiming they are under investigation, trying to scare them into sending money either by pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.

California resident Cheryl Singh said she received a voicemail message that claimed there was a problem with her previous tax return. Two days later she received another call saying she was under investigation for tax fraud.

But according to Eric Melendez, of the Hayward Police Department, the phone calls are a part of a scam.

There was no IRS case against Singh, Johnson reported.

“They’re trying to get the money transferred from the victim to them, without leaving any traces,” Melendez explained.

Some scammers will go as far as to disguise their phone number so it appears they’re calling from a government agency, Johnson reported. They also call after hours and on weekends, making it virtually impossible to verify what they’re claiming.

“They’ll set it up so that those businesses are closed or unreachable,” Melendez said.

The IRS is also warning of bogus emails that claim your entitled to a tax refund. It may look real, but clicking on the link could put you at risk of infecting your computer with a virus, Johnson reported.

“The IRS never initiates contact with taxpayers concerning their tax accounts through email, through text messaging or social media sites,” IRS spokesperson Dianne Besunder said.

The IRS said if it has a problem with one of your tax returns, you will receive at least two or three letters in the mail, but the agency will not call you.

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