If the IRS calls still hang up!
Last Wednesday I met with both FBI and IRS agents with one of my clients. I asked the agents about all the fraudulent calls from people pretending to be IRS agents... whose goal is to steal your money. They confirmed there are more caller complaints than they can handle. They have just not been able to get a handle on the problem.
It is suspected there are several nationwide groups perpetrating this pervasive scam with some from overseas. The fake IRS agent calls the taxpayer claiming they owe taxes and demanding immediate payment with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. One fake agent had one guy drive from one place to another, buying pre-paid cards for $500 each.
Law enforcement is "on the way" they claim and will arrest and close down your business. They scare the taxpayer, threatening custody, deportation of illegals and loss of your California Driver's License.
I have been called several times by the "IRS" as have many of my friends and clients. It's not a new scam, but the IRS says there has been a steady increase lately. The phony "IRS" may explain "We have received a legal notice against your name regarding tax fraud, tax evasion". This message comes from someone pretending to be the IRS who has left that voicemail on numerous victim's phones.
They may claim "You've got liens against you for taxes, back taxes and if you don't pay up, you'll end up in jail," according to a Bermuda Dunes resident. Victims will sometimes pick up the phone and the caller will say it was the IRS calling and that the victim owes money and the caller was sending the sheriff over immediately to come get the victim and that there were warrants out for the victim's arrest. Furthermore they will threaten there was a lien on the victims property etc.
When I received the same call my fraud antenna immediately went up because the caller's accent was very thick and not understandable. I questioned why the IRS would employ agents that did not speak clearly as IRS matters are highly sensitive. Being suspicious, I questioned the caller who YELLED, "Just hang up!"... "Hang up $#%&* @#(^#$ or you will be sorry." Many of the callers are from outside of the USA and use VOIP to skirt many of the legal issues.
I personally contacted my friend Riverside County Sheriff Stan Smith. He assured me it was a scam. This process is called CALLER ID SPOOFING. This is because the "IRS" gets your caller ID system to display a legitimate IRS toll free customer service number.
These scams can also include purported calls from RSO and DMV. The bottom line is if you are uncertain hang up and call IRS at 800-829-1040. These crooks do everything possible to get your personal info. They send phony emails or calls, threatening arrest, license suspension or deportation if you do not go along with their demands.
In the past two years scams have cost victims more than 23 million dollars. Of course we are prime targets in the Coachella Valley because we've got so many seniors here and some of them really think this is real.
I advised the agents I had written several legal columns advising my readers "If the IRS calls you should hang up." They confirmed same explaining the IRS does not call so hanging up and it will not expose you to any penalty. If the IRS wants you they will write you.
If you have ideas for future articles contact Dale Gribow at 760-565-0533.
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