IRS Telephone Scams with a New Approach on the Rise!

Recently I received four calls from clients indicating that they received a voice mail from the IRS requesting a call back.These scammers now keep a data base with potential targets by name and telephone number. When the taxpayer calls back, the scammer requests the taxpayer’s name and telephone number. The scammer then looks in their data base to verify the targeted victim. Once the targeted victim’s information is confirmed in the data base. The conversation goes something like this:

Scammer: My name is John Smith, I am a criminal investigator with the IRS or US Treasury, my badge number is 456812 and the purpose of my call today is to inform you that there has been an action filed in the local court house. You under reported your income on your 2012 tax return and you are being prosecuted. How can I get in contact with your attorney to prepare for trial?

Taxpayer: This is the first I have ever heard of this. I have never received any letters or phone calls from the IRS.

Scammer: We have sent you many letters and left you numerous voice mails. You didn’t respond to either and now have forced us to get the court involved.

Taxpayer: Is there another way to resolve this matter? How much do I owe?

Scammer: No, it’s too late to handle the matter out of court and you owe $4,809.32.

Taxpayer: I don’t have an attorney, I really don’t want to go to court. There must be another way.

Scammer: I can talk to my supervisor and see if he will make an exception. If I can convince my supervisor to settle out of court, it must be done today. Are you willing and prepared to settle this matter today?

Taxpayer: Yes.

Scammer: Please hold and let me see what I can do for you.

The scammer knows that the taxpayer’s anxiety level is off the charts right about now as he or she is waiting to learn their fate and will agree to just about anything to solve this matter once and for all. After about 3-4 minutes, the scammer is back on the line.

Scammer: OK, I was able to convince my supervisor to settle this matter today.

Taxpayer: Can you take a credit card payment?

Scammer: No, I am going to give you specific instructions and you must stay on the line with me during this process. If for some reason we get disconnected before this transaction is completed, the out of court settlement is off and you will be arrested.

Taxpayer: OK

Scammer: I want you to drive to the closest Walmart, CVS or Rite Aid or any other place that you know sells green dot money packs. I want you to purchase 9 green dot money packs for the maximum amount which is $500.00 for a total of $4,500.00. Then I want you to purchase 1 green dot money pack for $309.32. Now read me the serial number on the back of each of the cards you just purchased (Once the serial numbers are disclosed to the scammer, he or she can collect the funds from green dot immediately, even if overseas).

If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issues-if there really is such an issue. If you feel uncomfortable speaking with the IRS, you have the right to appoint a representative to make that call for you.

If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think you owe any taxes and the caller is making threats, hang up on them and then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax administration at 800-366-4484.