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ASK THE EDD LAWYER – GOOD NEWS – IRS ARRESTS PHONY IRS PHONE SCAMMERS

By Robert S. Schriebman
2017

Introduction

There are several articles scattered throughout this website discussing and warning you about fraudulent IRS phone calls. I have given you advice, from time to time, about how to deal with these crooks. I have also informed you about what the IRS, Treasury Dept., and law enforcement have been doing to try to apprehend these people. However, up until now there has been little, if any, word that any of these criminals have been caught in the act and arrested.

The good news came out of Washington on April 28, 2017. J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) recently announced the arrests of 8 individuals. Here is the story.

IRS Indictments and Arrests

I am happy to report that a ring of 8 individuals have been arrested based upon indictments that charged 11 individuals in schemes to impersonate IRS agents in order to obtain money from innocent taxpayers by falsely representing that these innocent people owed back taxes and other fees. Last year the IRS arrested 2 members of this ring. The 8 individuals were arrested in Miami, FL on April 25, 2017 for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. One crook still remains at large. According to court documents this ring of crooks was responsible for almost $8.8 million in schemes that defrauded more than 7,000 victims. It is truly amazing how people fall for these schemes and just how lucrative they are for these crooks.

Over the past three years it is estimated that these phony telephone schemes have bilked people out of more than $55 million. According to Mr. George, "The scammers are relentless and so are we. Our investigators will not rest until we have brought those responsible for this scheme to justice."

According to court documents, the arrested suspects impersonated IRS agents and demanded money under false pretences. Innocent people were told that the IRS would arrest them if they did not make payments immediately. The callers made these threats and used other methods of intimidation to persuade the victims to wire money to MoneyGram, Walmart2WalmartMoney Transfer and other wire services.

While this news is welcomed, and the efforts of the IRS and the Social Security Administration are very much appreciated, the government needs to acknowledge that some of these scammers are located "offshore" and in countries where they can get away with it. You need to be ever vigilant and follow the guidelines set out below:

Helpful Tips That Will Help You Avoid Becoming a Scam Victim

No employee of the IRS or Treasury Dept. will ever contact you by phone and demand that you make payments to a third party wire transfer organization. The IRS accepts money by check and by credit card using the guidelines set forth on the official IRS website. The IRS will never threaten to use local law enforcement to collect any deficiency.

According to a recent IRS release, Tax Tip 2017-10 (February 7, 2017), IRS employees will not do the following:

  • Call demanding immediate payment. The IRS will not call a taxpayer if they owe tax without first sending a bill in the mail. (Actually a series of bills)
  • Demand payment without allowing the taxpayer to question or appeal the amount owed. (This is known as a Collection Due Process proceeding.)
  • Require the taxpayer pay their taxes a certain way. For example, demand taxpayers use a prepaid debit card. (You may be eligible for an installment payment agreement.)
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone. (Never happens)
  • Threaten to contact local police or similar agencies to arrest the taxpayer for non-payment of taxes. (Never happens)
  • Threaten legal action such as a lawsuit. (Never happens)

Conclusion

    If you think you are a scam victim you should do the following:

    • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA's "IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting" web page to report the incident.
    • Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the "FTC Complaint Assistant" on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.

    ***

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