Inspector General on 'High Alert' for Tax Scams
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is urging taxpayers and practitioners to be on “high alert” about a massive telephone fraud scam being committed by criminals impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees.
TIGTA also announced additional outreach efforts to prevent taxpayers from falling victim to criminals who pretend to be IRS and Treasury employees this filing season.
“The phone fraud scam has become an epidemic, robbing taxpayers of millions of dollars of their money,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “We are making progress in our investigation of this scam, resulting in the successful prosecution of some individuals associated with it over the past year.”
He noted that over the summer, a ringleader in the scam was sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison. “However, this is still a matter of high investigative priority,” said George.
TIGTA said it continues to receive reports of thousands of contacts every month in which individuals fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials make unsolicited calls and “robocalls” to taxpayers and demanding that they send them cash, he said.
“As the tax filing season begins, it is critical that all taxpayers continue to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be IRS and Treasury employees,” said George. “This scam has proven to be the largest of its kind that we have ever seen. The callers are aggressive and relentless. Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash. We will be very aggressive in pursuing those perpetrating this fraud. In the meantime, we need to do even more to warn taxpayers not to fall for it.”
TIGTA’s expanded outreach initiative includes video Public Service Announcements in English and in Spanish that warn taxpayers about the scam. In addition, TIGTA is working with its partners in the public and private sector to help get the word out, both through traditional law enforcement channels and through direct outreach to associations, nongovernmental organizations, and the media. Read more on Accounting Today.