In late July 2017, the United States Justice Department sentenced 21 conspirators of a large-scale IRS scam to prison, with sentences up to 20 years. This case is considered the nation’s largest multinational telephone fraud operation, causing 15,000 victims to collectively lose hundreds of millions of dollars.
IRS Phone Scam Based in India
From 2012 to 2016, scammers posed as IRS officials and targeted vulnerable Americans, including immigrants, with threats of arrest, deportation and similar actions if the victims did not immediately pay their debts or taxes using wire transfers or prepaid cards. The demanded payments were in thousands of dollars at a time. The prepaid cards included gift cards to major U.S. retailers that the victims paid for and then gave the card information to the callers.
When these calls came through, caller I.D. screens lit up with the words “U.S. Government.” The callers claimed to be officials from the IRS or from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Justice Department said that victims’ information was obtained through “data brokers” and other sources.
The scammers called from centers based in India. The money was routed through these call centers, then sent back to the operation’s leaders positioned in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey and Texas.
How to Report IRS Scams
It’s important to know that the Internal Revenue Service does not call consumers to threaten legal action or harass them over debts. Additionally, the IRS does not demand immediate payment of debts using a specific method, like a prepaid card or wire transfer. Instead, the IRS will initially mail a bill to the taxpayer and will not threaten to get the police, immigration officers or other law enforcement involved.
If you receive a call from someone impersonating an IRS official, do not give out your personal information or make any payments. If you receive an email claiming to be sent from the IRS, do not reply to, open any attachments, or click any links within the email.
For further information on how to report an IRS scam, and more details on how to identify a scam, visit the IRS website.
Hire a trusted CPA for all tax services
It can be intimidating to deal with the IRS, whether it’s legit or a scam. Hiring a trusted CPA gets a third-party involved who understands the ins and outs of taxes, payment plans, and more communication with the IRS. Receive your free consultation with Watson CPA today, or call us at 317-848-9938 today to get started.