Bogus IRS calls

Practical and Practice issues for Professionals who practice in the area of taxation. Moral, social and economic issues relating to taxes, including international issues, the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, state tax issues, etc. Not for "tax protestor" issues, which should be posted in the "tax protestor" forum above. The advice or opinion given herein should not be relied on for any purpose whatsoever. Also examines cookie-cutter deals that have no economic substance but exist only to generate losses, as marketed by everybody from solo practitioner tax lawyers to the major accounting firms.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby fortinbras » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:48 pm

True enough ... that sort of naivete is found among the vast majority of law-abiding citizens. If the frauds called a crook like some of the guys we've hashed over in this forum, the crook would say something along the lines of "I know the government cannot file a suit this fast".
So, yes, you can cheat an honest man.

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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby NYGman » Tue Nov 11, 2014 2:49 pm

This isn't actually new, although recently they have become more aggressive. The IRS actually posted a notice on this scam last year http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-War ... phone-Scam initial notice and http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Rep ... hone-Scams follow up notice.

I was called by them twice actually. On one I told them I was an IRS agent, and gave them my badge number (I am not), they hung up quickly. The next time I strung them a long for a while. My brother, also a Lawyer, really enjoys calling them back and messing with them. He has found that they are actually based in India and use Magic Jack technology to send calls to India, and have local US numbers. I don't think there is much we can actually do, but he believes the more time he wastes with them on the phone, the less time they will have to scam others.

It really is a sick scam. They call and say they are the IRS, and you owe money, and need to pay it now. If you don't, they will arrest you. I can see how people will fall for this, as people do not understand the IRS doesn't call first, they write letters. If anyone has active numbers, feel free to PM them to me, I will pass along to my brother, and he will be happy to waste some of their time. He uses this as a form of relaxation, between legal work, sort of like a smoke break. He likes to record the conversations, and remix for his enjoyment (Don't ask). One word of warning, the will get quite vulgar after you bust them, using profanity in very odd ways.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Number Six » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:12 pm

Has the IRS ever operated like this? Why do people get the idea that a tax authority would act in such an intimidating and ruthless manner? Sure the IRS has shown up at people's residences with law enforcement escorts to seize properties, it has gone to banks to seize accounts. Almost always there has been (ignored) correspondence beforehand. Still I could see the advantage with certain types of individuals to give no warnings before seizures/arrests.

On this originating in India, it is easy to see how their high tech knowledge of unscrupulous and aggressive crooks could be used like this. Too bad that our law enforcement is not advanced enough to interdict the frauds. Possibly they could set up a major sting in coordination with law enforcement in India to locate the criminals.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby NYGman » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:25 pm

The IRS doesn't act like this. They send notices, you call them, they do not call you, unless you have arranged for them to call you back.

People fall for this, because they don't understand the IRS, and their processes, and owing money to the IRS scares people. If you don't know better, and someone calls you pretending to be the IRS, and threatens you will be arrested and send you to jail if you don't pay your tax, you may think it is legitimate.

People fear what they don't understand, and tax collections is also a big scary monster to some. It is a perfect scam, in my book. It is all about percentages. While sophisticated taxpayers will see right through this, the less sophisticated like the elderly, the poor, and the self prepares are more prone to paying up, especially if the amount isn't that large. It is easier to give someone $300 quickly to make imminent arrest go away, than it would be to call a tax adviser, book an appointment, and discuss the fake tax issue. Hit enough of these people, those who probably really can't afford to pay, and you are rolling in the money.

Unfortunately the threat of arrest is powerful, and some don't think to Google this to see if it is legitimate, or what their rights may be. If they did, they would find the IRS notices and know it is a scam. I also don't think the IRS or Media do a good job of getting this scam out there so the public know it is a scam, and not a legitimate attempt to collect back tax, which is always initiated by a letter, never a call.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Number Six » Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:33 pm

But they don't take credit cards or paypal which they know would give recourse to the "customer". Fill Green Dot money cards and give them the #. That would give the scammed some idea usually as to how third world this is. Bank wires would sound a little more professional, for some reason they don't want those. The whole problem of how confidential the tax and income information is between the citizen and the tax authorities creates confusion when someone impersonates law enforcement. One reason it is against the law to impersonate any law enforcement.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Arthur Rubin » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:06 pm

I got one of the calls this morning. Same Indian accent, couldn't understand the "badge number". Reported at http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml .
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Pottapaug1938 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:24 pm

My daughter got one of these calls. She was told that she had to wire money, via Western Union, within two hours or face arrest by the FBI. My daughter replied "well, I work right across the street from the local IRS office (she doesn't). I'll just make payment there." The caller replied that this was not permissible, and that she HAD TO wire the money -- now within an hour. My daughter then offered to take the phone number of the "agent" and call him, from the IRS office, to set up the wire.

Click.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby JamesVincent » Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:23 pm

You owe money! Your taxes are overdue! It’s a phone call thousands of people in Wisconsin are getting. The person on the line says they are from the IRS.

It’s a call that would make anyone think twice. Viewers have been reaching out to FOX6’s Contact 6 to learn more about it. FOX6 producer Sara Smith even got the call and was concerned.
IRS Call

Part of an IRS scam call message FOX6 producer, Sara Smith, received.

“The IRS they’re suing me?! Then, I started to think ‘did I not pay taxes?'” said Smith.


http://fox6now.com/2014/12/07/just-hang-up-irs-scam-warning/
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Number Six » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:46 pm

So many tax cheats around the world who get really scared when a tax agency "contacts" them. How is it that this scam only seems to work in the US?
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Duke2Earl » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:24 pm

Well, it happened. I just got a robocall saying that the IRS was filing a lawsuit against me and if I wanted more information I needed to call a 202 (DC) number. I hung up.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Famspear » Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:19 pm

For the record:

Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.


--18 USC section 912.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Jeffrey » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:15 pm


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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby wserra » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:39 pm

Famspear wrote:--18 USC section 912.


Does it apply in Mumbai?
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Famspear » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:51 pm

wserra wrote:
Famspear wrote:--18 USC section 912.


Does it apply in Mumbai?


:)

I guess we could say, yeah, it does -- if we can find the bad guys and bring them here.

I'm not suggesting that anyone do this, but my understanding is that even an abduction or illegal arrest of a crook in India who is brought to the United States in an illegal manner could result in indictment, a legal trial, a guilty verdict, a legal conviction, and imprisonment under our laws. I seem to recall a court case, maybe a U.S. Supreme Court case, where the court stated that the fact that the defendant was brought to this country "in an irregular manner" (to use the court's quaint phrase for kidnapping, etc.) does not defeat the subject matter jurisdiction of a Federal district court and the valid conviction of a defendant unfortunate enough to be apprehended in this way.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby wserra » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:55 pm

United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655 (1992).
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Famspear » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:59 pm

wserra wrote:United States v. Alvarez-Machain, 504 U.S. 655 (1992).


Whoah, you are fast, Wes!

On another subject: The taxes imposed under the internal revenue laws of the United States apply on a world-wide basis, even to persons who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. residents, and who have never even visited the United States. Even a Tibetan monk meditating on the top of a mountain is subject to U.S. tax laws.

The effect of this far-reaching doctrine has been limited to a degree by Congress.

In the case of the U.S. federal income tax on individuals, for example, the reach of the U.S. internal revenue law has been limited -- but not completely negated -- by Internal Revenue Code section 2(d), relating to "nonresident alien" individuals. See also Internal Revenue Code sections 7701(b), 871, 877, and 932(c).
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby jcolvin2 » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:10 pm

Jeffrey wrote:http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tax-fraud-idUSKCN12R1TI

Is this it?


The DOJ Press release (includes a couple of dozen Indian defendants)

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/dozens-individuals-indicted-multimillion-dollar-indian-call-center-scam-targeting-us-victims



Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dozens of Individuals Indicted in Multimillion-Dollar Indian Call Center Scam Targeting U.S. Victims




Today, an indictment was unsealed charging a total of 61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas, Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Inspector General J. Russell George of the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and Inspector General John Roth of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) made the announcement today.

“The indictment we unsealed and the arrests we made today demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to identifying and prosecuting the individuals behind these impersonation and telefraud schemes, who seek to profit by exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities,”said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “This is a transnational problem, and demonstrates that modern criminals target Americans both from inside our borders and from abroad. Only by working tirelessly to gather evidence, build cases and working closely with foreign law enforcement partners to ensure there are no safe havens can we effectively address these threats.”

“This indictment will serve to not only seek the conviction of those involved, but will send a message around the world that no one is safe from prosecution for participating in such pervasive transnational fraud schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson. “We are extremely vigilant when the names of U.S. government agencies are used to perpetuate fraud for the purpose of victimizing so many innocent American citizens.”

“Today’s actions will not only bring a sense of justice to the victims in this case, but this significant investigation will also help increase awareness of this type of fraud,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. “To potential victims, our message today is simple: U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls, and if you receive one, contact law enforcement to report the suspected scam before you make a payment.”

“All agencies involved in today’s announcement are to be congratulated and commended on their outstanding efforts,” said Inspector General George. “This indictment is the result of countless hours of solid investigative work and excellent cross-governmental collaboration concerning massive amounts of fraud that individuals have allegedly perpetrated on the American people.”

“This multi-agency, three year investigation illustrates the ability of federal, state and local agencies to successfully leverage resources, communicate and work together to achieve justice,” said Inspector General Roth. “We commend the victims for overcoming any possible embarrassment or fear and coming forward and report this to the authorities.”

The indictment was returned by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Oct. 19, 2016, and charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit identity theft, false personation of an officer of the United States, wire fraud and money laundering. One of the defendants is separately charged with passport fraud.

The indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a sophisticated fraudulent scheme organized by conspirators in India, including a network of call centers in Ahmedabad, India. Using information obtained from data brokers and other sources, call center operators allegedly called potential victims while impersonating officials from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to the indictment, the call center operators then threatened potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government. If the victims agreed to pay, the call centers would then immediately turn to a network of U.S.-based co-conspirators to liquidate and launder the extorted funds as quickly as possible by purchasing prepaid debit cards or through wire transfers. The prepaid debit cards were often registered using misappropriated personal identifying information of thousands of identity theft victims, and the wire transfers were directed by the criminal associates using fake names and fraudulent identifications.

The co-conspirators allegedly used “hawalas,” in which money is transferred internationally outside of the formal banking system, to direct the extorted funds to accounts belonging to U.S.-based individuals. According to the indictment, these individuals were expecting the hawala transfers but were not aware of the illicit nature of the funds. The co-conspirators also allegedly kept a percentage of the proceeds for themselves.

According to the indictment, one of the call centers extorted $12,300 from an 85-year-old victim from San Diego, California, after threatening her with arrest if she did not pay fictitious tax violations. On the same day that she was extorted, one of the U.S.-based defendants allegedly used a reloadable debit card funded with the victim’s money to purchase money orders in Frisco, Texas.

The indictment also alleges that the defendants extorted $136,000 from a victim in Hayward, California, who they called multiple times over a period of 20 days, fraudulently purporting to be IRS agents and demanding payment for alleged tax violations. The victim was then directed to purchase 276 stored value cards which the defendants then transferred to reloadable debit cards. Some of the victim’s money ended up on cards which were activated using stolen personal identifying information from U.S.- based victims.

The conspirators would at times allegedly use alternative fraudulent schemes in which the call center operators would offer the victims small short-term loans or advise them that they were eligible for grants. The indictment alleges that the conspirators would then request a good-faith deposit to show the victims’ ability to pay back the loan, or payment of a fee to process the grant. The victims of the alleged scam never received any money after making the requested payment.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

DHS OIG, HSI and TIGTA led the investigation. The Ft. Bend, Texas, County Sheriff’s Department; the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Police Department; the Leonia, New Jersey, Police Department; the Naperville, Illinois, Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office Family Protection/Elder Abuse Unit; the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General; IOC-2; INTERPOL Washington; and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices of the Northern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, District of Colorado, Northern District of Florida, Middle District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Northern District of Indiana, District of Nevada and District of New Jersey provided significant support in this case. The Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau provided assistance in TIGTA’s investigation.

Senior Trial Attorney Hope Olds and Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Trial Attorney Robert Stapleton of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys S. Mark McIntyre and Craig Feazel of the Southern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.

A Department of Justice website has been established to provide information about the case to already identified and potential victims, and the public. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of fraud or identity theft in relation to this investigation or other telefraud scam phone calls may contact the FTC via this website.

Anyone who wants additional information about telefraud scams generally, or preventing identity theft or fraudulent use of their identity information, may obtain helpful information on the IRS tax scams website, the FTC phone scam website and the FTC identity theft website.

16-1257
Criminal Division
USAO - Texas, Southern

Download Superseding Indictment
https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/905882/download
Updated October 27, 2016

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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby notorial dissent » Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:08 am

Sounds like lots of continued employment for lawyers to me. I'm really glad they got the locals. I don't feel any sympathy for the ones in India, but can see why and how it happened. If they can get the operators over there then more power to them, as they need to, just don't know what kind of luck they would have with it. The masterminds behind it do need to be prosecuted and if they can get the money back they should. I don't know how much hope I hold out on this, bit it should be concerning to the IRS, DOJ, and DOHS if only on the identity theft issues.
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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby Lambkin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:19 pm

Looks like my most recent call from these turkeys was Sept 22, 2016.

"The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. We need you or your retained attorney of record to return the call the issue at hand is extremely time sensitive. Please call us immediately on 213-361-2408. I repeat 213-361-2408. Thank you."

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Re: Bogus IRS calls

Postby susanbetts » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:50 pm

I get bogus calls about credit cards, they say I have been approved for a 0% interest rate card and need to pay this amount to get it mailed to your address.

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