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ASK THE EDD ATTORNEY HOW TO DEAL WITH THE PHONY IRS CALL FROM HELL

By Robert S. Schriebman

The phony "IRS" calls from hell are becoming an epidemic. Here is what recently happened to two of my clients:

  • Case #1: In late August 2014, I received a call from a client whom I had not heard from in several years. She was hysterical and crying. She received a phony IRS call threatening to arrest her. The caller identified himself as IRS Agent Hamilton. He left his phone number. He informed her that she had one hour to get her affairs in order as the IRS was coming to arrest her because she owed the IRS $2800. He knew that a tax lien had been filed against her. "Agent Hamilton" even quoted sections of the Internal Revenue Code that had to do with various criminal penalties.

  • Case #2: A client sent me an email telling me that over the Labor Day weekend he received a call from someone who claimed to be an IRS agent demanding that he call "the IRS" back to avoid penalties.

What should you do to protect yourself from these illegal "phishing" calls? Before answering this question there are a few things should know about what the real IRS WILL NOT DO:

  • The real IRS will never call you about your taxes without first mailing you a series of official IRS notices.

  • The real IRS will not communicate with you by email or text message.

  • The real IRS will not demand that you pay taxes without first giving you a written notice that you have a right to a Collection Due Process proceeding.

  • The real IRS will not demand that you pay your taxes with either a credit card or debit card nor will the real IRS ask you for your credit card or debit card numbers over the phone.

  • The real IRS follows a policy of not arresting people because they owe taxes.

If you get a phone call from anyone stating that he or she is from the IRS and they make threats and demand information over the phone I recommend you challenge the caller. Here is what I did in Case #1 to satisfy myself that "Agent Hamilton" was indeed a phony.

  • I returned the call. When "Agent Hamilton" answered I asked him for his 7-digit official IRS Employee ID number, and I asked for his address. "Agent Hamilton" hung up on me. Every real IRS employee has an official 7-digit ID number and is required to give you this number upon request. When "Agent Hamilton" hung up on me I knew he was a crook.

    "Agent Hamilton" had information concerning the specific details of the tax lien recorded against my client in Case #1. Unfortunately, once the IRS records a Notice of Federal Tax Lien (NFTL) with the County Recorder it becomes public information. If you owe the IRS and you are barraged by letters and phone calls offering to help you with your tax problem, these people are getting your information from a service that provides recorded tax lien data to them.

  • I called the real IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Los Angeles at 213.576.3205 to report the incident. Within minutes I received a call from a real IRS Fraud Agent. He took down all of the information and told me that I would soon receive a call from the Treasury Department Inspector General's office (IG). Within minutes I received this call. The IG Agent was very interested about this incident and was very helpful in giving contact information for filing complaints.

    The IG also gave me an internet reference for reporting any future "phishing" scams: www.tigta.treas.gov. Click on the link to "phishing scams" and report the incident.

  • I advised both clients in Case #1 and Case #2 to file a formal complaint with local law enforcement.

On September 3, 2014, the IRS issued a press release advising the public what to do if and when they get a call from "Agent Hamilton" or one of his fellow criminals:

  • If you owe the IRS or wish to verify the call contact the IRS at 800.829.1040.

  • Report the incident to the Treasury Department Inspector General's office (TIGTA) at 800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.treas.gov.

  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Use their "FTC Complaint Assistant" to report the scam. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

  • Report the incident to your local police or sheriff department.

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An EDD attorney, Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States.

As a trusted EDD lawyer, Robert S. Schriebman has successfully dedicated more than 40 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments.

Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure", both published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House.

Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, "IRS Tax Collection Procedures - A Manual for Practitioners" published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See "California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures" and "California Taxation Practice and Procedure", both published by Commerce Clearing House.

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