SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office is warning residents of a recent telephone scam in which callers are posing as Internal Revenue Service agents.

A senior citizen recently reported that a man claiming to be from the IRS' criminal tax fraud unit called her and told her she owed taxes for the past six years. The man told her she owed $6,850 and requested her bank account information in order to withdraw funds. He also told her she'd been sent certified notifications for payment and threatened that if the case went to court, she'd owe more than $16,000.

The woman contacted her tax prepared and verified that all of taxes had been filed and paid, and that the call was a hoax.

The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Consumer Affairs office warns residents that the IRS does not call or email taxpayers to collect tax payments.

There are warnings on the IRS website about these types of scams as well. Some people have even reported that they've been threatened with deportation and driver's license revocation unless they wire transfer money to person posing as an IRS agent.

According to the DA's office, characteristics of the scam include:

  • Scammers give fake names and fake IRS badge numbers.
  • Scammers may have a victim's social security number.
  • Email phishing scams will lead a victim to a website that imitates the IRS site.
  • After threatening victims with fines or jail time, the scammers hang up and others call back pretending to be from the police or sheriff or DMV.

If you experience one of these scams, contact the DA's Consumer Affairs Unit at
 454-2050 to report it.