As tax season begins, the IRS Phone Scam observed in years past, is surging. Aggressive phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a serious and ongoing threat to taxpayers, as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, and license revocation. It remains at the top of the IRS’s official “Dirty Dozen” tax scam warnings for 2015, and was recently ranked #3 on the FTC’s list of top 10 consumer complaints. Read a complete breakdown of the scam here.
As the scam increases in popularity, fraudsters are finding ways to increase efficiency. While last year’s iteration of the scam seemed to target elderly and immigrant populations, in this years version of the scam fraudsters are relying on auto-dialers, robocalling, and voice mail messages to hit as many taxpayers as possible.
Pindrop has obtained a recording of one of these fraudulent voice mails.
Hi, this message is for Sarah Sol. Ms. Sarah, this is Marco Vincent calling you from IRS, Internal Revenue Service. Right now, you hang up the phone call. That means you are intentionally fraud with the IRS. And, we need to call [inaudible 00:00:17] that calling into the courthouse and again [inaudible 00:00:18]. Because you are intentionally fraud with the IRS. You do not follow the terms and conditions, so at this point of time, I would think about that you are intentionally fraud with the IRS. That’s the reason we start the legal action against you. So, this first and last call for you, Ms. Sarah. We need to resolve this case immediately. Call me back on my callback number, it’s (703) 828-0306. Again, this is Marco Vincent. Goodbye, and take care.
These methods are effective because they weed out people who know the scam is not real. Those people who return a voicemail or robocall have self-selected as particularly vulnerable to the scam. Fraudsters then do not have to waste time on the phone, trying to convince a target that they are real. They can get straight to the extortion.
The IRS will never make initial contact with you over the phone – only through certified mail. If you do receive one of these voicemails, there are two steps you can take to report the fraud:
- Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at https://www.tigta.gov.
- File a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.