BERNVILLE, Pa. -

A Berks County man's loss can serve as a lesson for many others.

The 44-year-old Bernville resident, whose name has not been released, lost $5,000 in a telephone scam, Pennsylvania State Police revealed Thursday.

The man received a call from someone pretending to be with the IRS and claiming that the victim owed more than $8,000 in back taxes, police said. He was told if he didn't pay, he'd be arrested.

The victim, police said, was told he could pay what he owed using Walmart or Target gift cards, so the man went to a local Target store and bought $5,000 worth of gift cards.

The victim then gave the gift card numbers to the scammer over the phone, police said.

The IRS has posted information on its website regarding common telephone and email scams and what you can do to protect yourself.

IRS building The IRS said it wants people to know that it will never call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to anyone who may owe taxes.

The IRS said it will also never threaten an immediate arrest or demand that one pay taxes without providing the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

12 most common tax scams

Posted: 1:50 PM EDT Mar 27, 2013   Updated: 3:00 AM EST Jan 21, 2015

As tax season begins, the IRS warns taxpayers to be on high alert for common scams. Take a look at the annual "dirty dozen" list released by the IRS.

Taxes, tax forms
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The IRS warns taxpayers to be on high alert for common tax scams that pop up during tax season. Take a look at the annual "dirty dozen" list released by the IRS.