IRS Scammers Claim Another Victim

Christina Tetreault
Staff Attorney

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

A 30 year-old woman sent thousands to robocallers who claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Boston.com reports. The scammers threatened to sue the victim and throw her in jail if she didn’t pay back taxes they claimed she owed. According to the report, the scammers even sent a cab to pick up the victim at work and take her to the bank so she could withdraw cash to send to them. The ordeal lasted five hours, during which time the victim’s husband thought she had been kidnapped. The couple lost $8,772.

The IRS imposter scam is terribly effective – the IRS estimates Americans have lost $23 million to this scam – because the scammers are relentless. It’s been a major problem for some time (it’s such a huge problem that tax scams are atop the Better Business Bureau’s list of “Top Ten Scams” in 2015). Of course, to folks following this blog, the IRS imposter scam isn’t new. (We first warned you about it last spring, and have given regular updates about this scam; supporter Steve shared this warning two weeks ago.)

Of the more than thirty thousand stories we’ve received from consumers struggling with robocalls, many, many, many mention the IRS imposter scam.  Melanie’s story shows just how pernicious these scammers are:

“..I received a robocall from someone stating that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against me. I work in the cyber security industry and consistently hear about vicious attacks both electronic and otherwise and knew right away that this was a scam, yet the message remained no less unsettling…”

No matter how threatening a caller is, remember: the IRS will not contact you by phone to collect a debt. Any time there is a tax issue, the IRS will first mail you a notice. Moreover, the IRS will never ask for credit, debit or prepaid card numbers over the phone. You can find more tips on how to avoid the IRS scam here.

Even savvy consumers fall victim to scams. That’s why we think that scammers should be stopped before they reach consumers. The technology exists to block robocalls, but  the phone companies are dragging their feet. It’s time that they step up and supply their customers free tools to block robocalls. If you agree, join with us to End Robocalls.

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