IRS Impersonator ScamPosted by Admin on September 1, 2018
For the past few years one phone scam that has been very successful has specifically targeted citizens of the United States. These criminals, usually operating outside United States territory, convince people that they are from the Internal Revenue Service and that the victim has failed to pay taxes due and are now facing fines or criminal action.
Just last year (2016) seventy call center workers in Mumbai, India, were arrested and charged with such fraudulent activity. While it did end one operation, the scam's success rate, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars a year to the victims, makes it a lucrative operation and the IRS Impersonator scam continues to be a major danger for the unwary.
How It Works
The scam works by using an autodialer and software that generates spoofed phone numbers that may even say IRS on the caller ID. The pre-recorded messages are usually forwarded directly to voicemail to avoid the general ban on robocalls. In the message, the scammer will aggressively threaten legal action and demand that the victim call back before further charges are made.
Since an autodialer can handle millions of calls, the operator of the scam only needs to talk to the callbacks. There are, however, some scammers who prefer the more intimate approach by making calls directly, claiming to be representatives of the IRS. Common methods used to imply authenticity are the giving out of case numbers or badge numbers to the victim. They threaten the victim and attempt to intimidate them with legal summonses or police visits because of the delinquent taxes. They provide detailed instructions on how the person must immediately make payments through such methods as prepaid credit or gift cards, wire transfers, or credit cards to avoid further charges or police action.
It is surprising how many people in the United States are not aware that legally the IRS must first contact anyone with delinquent taxes by U.S. Mail and that such mail also includes the process for disputing the alleged charges.
What Should You Do?
If you are ever faced with a phone call such as this, you should stay calm and not give out personal information. It is best to use an online reverse phone number lookup before calling back any number given by such suspicious or unusual means. Often the number has already been reported as a scam.
Report The Scammer
Any calls received like this IRS Impersonator scam should be reported swiftly to TIGTA and the Federal Trade Commission to initiate action to seek out and remove these threats to people's financial security.