We have all heard of email scams and scoff that we will never fall victim, but what if the con artists know your social security number and where you live? This rather believable scam has cost victims one million dollars and the con artists are still hard at work.
Jeffrey S. Freeman, J.D., LL.M
Have you received a recent call telling you that you owe the IRS money and if you don’t pay they will arrest you? A phone scam has been sweeping the country during tax season and many people are falling victim. Individuals impersonating IRS agents have been calling taxpayers and demanding hundreds and thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes be paid immediately or they will be arrested.
The scam began back in August 2013 and the initial victims were immigrants and those with questionable residency status that were scared when the con men threatened deportation. They were instructed to pay the amount owed using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. According to the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, “This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen.” There have been reports of 20,000 instances, a record for a single IRS scam. So far the con men have duped individuals into paying one million dollars and each day that goes by there are an additional 100 to 200 victims.
Don’t become a victim. The callers have extensive information about the taxpayers, including the last four digits of their social security number, work history, drivers license, and property. They are also using threats of freezing assets, seizing property, suspending drivers licenses and passports to incite fear. They are not above using the standard threat of they “know where you live” and investigators believe that thanks to technology like Google Earth they are able to make these claims seem realistic by describing the cars the victims drive and the color of their houses.
Making the scheme even more sophisticated, the impersonators have found a way to make their phone number appear through caller-ID that it is the IRS calling. They have created email accounts featuring official looking IRS logos and language that can easily trick individuals into paying up. They provide fake names and have falsified IRS badge numbers to support their made-up identities.
This is not how the IRS operates. If you did actually owe unpaid taxes you would first be contacted by mail. The IRS will also never ask for payment via a prepaid debit card, credit card, or wire transfer. If you receive a threatening phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS and threatens “if you don’t pay immediately” know that that is not the IRS. Contact local law enforcement if you are contacted by the scam and if you have unpaid taxes contact a tax professional today.
About Freeman Tax Law
Freeman Tax Law is a boutique tax law firm with national exposure equipped to handle all domestic and international tax law matters. At Freeman Tax Law, the attorneys and professional staff have vast experience with foreign tax compliance, international tax planning, and resolving tax controversies involving offshore banking matters. Freeman Tax Law helps taxpayers and foreign entities become in compliance with laws such as Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). In addition to handling complex tax controversies, the Freeman Tax Law team has extensive expertise in assisting clients with wealth management and estate planning.
Freeman Tax Law