The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) are warning consumers of an ongoing telephone fraud. Scammers are impersonating members of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), demanding payment for overdue taxes, which has cost victims upwards of $50 million.
The scammer generally calls a household, claiming to be an agent for the IRS. The scammer will often have personal information about the victim; the caller ID often will identify the location as Washington, DC and even list the caller as ‘IRS.’ Victims are urged to pay off their taxes with iTunes gift cards, wire transfers, and online payments. Refusal to pay these phony taxes has resulted in threats of fines and even arrests from the false IRS agents.
The FCC and TIGTA are calling this the largest impersonation scam in history, and are determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. To protect themselves, consumers are urged to hang up if anyone calls claiming to be from the IRS, since the agency generally uses traditional mail as its first line of communication with consumers regarding matters related to their personal income taxes. From there, it is best to locate the official phone number for the agency and call to determine if one has an outstanding issue with the IRS that requires resolution.
All suspected fraudulent calls should be reported immediately to TIGTA as well as the FCC, which have provided websites for such cases. Both agencies plan to file civil suits against anyone involved with this phone scam.