In today’s information age, the advances in technology provides criminals with multiple tools to become very creative when attempting to steal money from innocent victims.
A new scam has become prolific enough that we have been in the process of notifying clients, friends, and family.
There are different variations but, in general, the predators try to scare you by stating you owe the IRS money and are being sued and there is a warrant out for your arrest.
One of our employees has personally experienced the attempt from these criminals. Recently, he received a voicemail saying he needed to call back the U.S. Department of Treasury to avoid being arrested. He knew it was a scam and did something that we never recommend anyone else do. Out of curiosity and to do some research for our clients, he called the number back. The guy on the other end of the line gave his “name” and “badge number” and said our employee was getting ready to be sued by the IRS and there was a warrant out for his arrest. The employee played along for several minutes without giving out any personal information. The criminal was really skilled and had a scripted response to every question. After several minutes of discussion, the employee had finished his research and when he hung up the phone all the crook heard was a dial tone.
Within a month of this encounter, two of our clients and one of our employees’ mother received similar calls.
The bottom line is if you receive a call or voicemail from someone claiming to be from the U.S. Department of Treasury or the IRS asking for money and you don’t owe taxes, do not give out any information and hang up immediately. They will never call to demand payment over the phone or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill and they won’t threaten to have you arrested.
On April 13, 2016 the IRS posted a warning about these scam artists on their website. Here are a few excerpts:
“By phone, many scammers use threats to intimidate and bully people into paying a "tax bill." They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money.”
“Beware of scammers making unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,”
“Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.”
Please pass this on to your friends and family. The elderly are particularly vulnerable. We’re looking out for you.