Tags: IRS | scam | identity | theft

Record Number of Taxpayers Victimized in IRS Scam

By    |   Wednesday, 15 April 2015 09:17 AM

More people than ever before have fallen victim to scammers during the 2015 tax season, according to Forbes, which reports that the common ruse involves a fake IRS agent phoning taxpayers from a "blocked or spoofed" caller ID and telling people they owe money.

The caller informs people that if they don't make immediate payments on back taxes owed, legal action will be taken, including going to jail. The scammers' goal is to steal both a victim's money and identity.

Phony IRS agents have duped more than 3,000 people with the scam since 2013, conning some $15.5 million. One victim lost more than $500,000. More than 366,000 people have been targeted.

In the sophisticated scam, the con artist provides callers with a fake badge number and "often threatens to arrest the victim if he or she doesn't pay immediately using a prepaid debit card," according to Forbes. The scammer also threatens callers that they could lose their driver's license or business license if immediate payment is not made.

Taxpayers need to be aware that the IRS will always send taxpayers a bill before calling and the agency would never require that a taxpayer use a specific payment method, ask for credit- or debit-card numbers over the phone, or threaten arrest by local police.

"And unpaid taxes won't cause a driver's license to be revoked," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The government watchdog group TIGTA Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration receives between 9,000 and 12,000 complaints about IRS phone scams each week. The average loss per victim is $5,000.

The general manager of the New Jersey company TelTech, which makes a device known as TrapCall to "unmask the caller behind blocked caller IDs," cautions consumers to be aware.

"We advise people to treat their phone the same way they treat their computers," TelTech's Ethan Garr told Forbes. "It is a great tool but it is also a window into your home and private life.

"People should keep up to date on what the latest phone scams are, never give out private information without getting 100 percent verification on who you are talking to and think of TrapCall as the anti-virus for your phone."

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More people than ever before have fallen victim to scammers during the 2015 tax season, according to Forbes.
IRS, scam, identity, theft
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 09:17 AM
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