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<< News >>

Exclusive Investigation

Thursday, 10 July, 2014 11:19 AM

IRS Phone Scam expands nationwide; Over $1 Million Stolen from Consumers

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Fake IRS impersonators uses a technique called "spoofing" to make their phone appear as one from Washington, D.C.

 

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

|

LOS ANGELES -- While you're enjoying the dog days of summer, scammers are working hard to rip you off. They've already stolen over $1 million nationwide claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Here's how the scam works: First, you get a cal and a threatening voice mail. "If you don't return the call or if I don't hear from your attorney, then the only thing which I can do is to wish you good luck as the legal situation badly unfolds upon you." Next, the scammer instructs you to visit a grocery store, purchase a gift card or wire transfer, read off the numbers on the front of the card along with the PIN number on the back of the card. Seconds later, your money is gone forever.

We received a news tip from one of our YouTube followers who said the scammers are calling from a call center in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Most of them are disgraced employees who formerly worked for American corporations and were recruited to work for the IRS phone scam. These individuals are also running scams for payday loans, pell grant financial aid, women's health products and are pretending to be Southern California Edison, DirectTV and Dish Network representatives.

If you think it won't happen to you, here's some of the stories from the Federal Trade Commission's website:

"These scammers scammed $25,000 out of my wife with similar tactics a month ago," said Roger, who posted a comment on ftc.gov. "We filed complaints with the FTC, the local police. Police says nothing can be done. Money is gone. What a poor defeatist attitude on the part of law enforcement! No wonder scammers keep scamming."

Jeffrey1234 walks us through the scam, "The same exact scenario happened to me on June 2, 2014. I played along with the guy until he wouldn't hang up with me until I brought the cash to Home Depot. These guys are pros. Had this happened to my wife, I know she would have fallen for it."

"Today, I received a call from ROBO IRS agent Heather telling me and my attorney to contact them immediately," said Jim in Colorado. "The number she gave was 585-444-6953. BEWARE."

I decided to call Raphael Tulino, the IRS Spokesman for California and Nevada, to find out what's going on here.

"We've seen the evolution of a phone scam over the last year or so where a caller claims to be with the IRS, they're not, calls a victim and demand they pay taxes owed, usually on a prepaid debit card or sometimes on a credit card or wire transfer," Tulino said in an exclusive interview. "Otherwise, they threaten the person receiving the call with arrest or deportation or other types of threatening actions. They definitely make it more believeable by spoofing the IRS toll-free number for example. The bottom line is they're using the IRS as a lure to get folks to comply."

Over $1 million has been collected by these scammers nationwide. Why haven't they been stopped?

"We're doing the best we can to find out where they're coming from," he added. "They're random phone calls coming from who knows where. It could be other parts of the world, like I said, using the IRS as a lure. Phishing e-mails are common as well with the same variation. We're doing the best we can to shut them down. The best information we can put out there is it's not the IRS calling you so you know it's a scam coming your way."

Go ahead and walk me through what folks should do when they get one of these calls.

"You can go to irs.gov. We have lots of information there on how you can go about reporting it, for example. There's a phone number for the Treasury Inspector General (1-800-366-4484) so they can look into it and try to shut it down. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Simply hanging up and not complying is a good thing."

 

Fake IRS Phone Numbers to Watch Out For

(202) 470-1419
(888) 909-8081
(202) 864-1257
(202) 609-7007
(202) 506-8045
(844) 241-1464
(202) 506-8051
(800) 829-0922
(585) 444-6953
(415) 251-1037
(415) 251-9738
(202) 506-8435
(202) 280-8165
(202) 754-8571
(202) 864-1255
(202) 864-1112
(202) 280-7844
(202) 280-7675
(347) 559-9037
(877) 395-4886
(202) 751-2551
(202) 506-9319
(202) 223-0880
(253) 619-3962
(888) 640-1453
(253) 617-3962
(202) 864-1255
(202) 864-1268
(202) 241-4007
(202) 280-7114
(347) 559-0378
(202) 506-9689
(202) 241-0163
(202) 506-8599
(202) 754-8157
(559) 836-5616
(202) 241-9420
(904) 290-3392
(202) 241-9018
(904) 290-3381

 

The Treasury Department has received so many complaints regarding the IRS phone scam that it can't accept any more at the moment. "Due to the high call volume we are receiving regarding the IRS impersonation scam, our voicemail box may be full," a pre-recorded message states.

The best advice is to simply hang up the phone. As a reminder, the IRS never calls consumers out of the blue demanding to pay taxes owed on a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The government agency only uses regular USPS mail as a method of communication.

Related Stories: EXCLUSIVE: Travelers say Most Hotels near Detroit Metro Airport are dirty and in need of renovations; EXCLUSIVE: The Global Vacation Network Continues to Promise Expensive Gifts Without Delivering; EXCLUSIVE: Beware of the Lincoln Navigator Telemarketing Scandal from the Global Vacation Network

 

 

Photo credit: Greendot
Graphic credit: microloansnw.com

The scam typically involves prepaid gift cards and sometimes wire transfers.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Jason Rzucidlo received dozens of calls from a guy claiming to be with the IRS.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The IRS impersonator called about twice an hour for an entire day, beginning at 7:01 a.m.

 

Photo credit: murrieta.patch.com

IRS Spokesman Raphael Tulino says the IRS will never call anyone -- the government organization only uses regular mail as a form of communication.

 

 

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