• Progress Made on Tax Scams, But Students And Parents Must Be Vigilant
  • November 17, 2016
  • Law Firm: Pessin Katz Law P.A. - Towson Office
  • News sources reported recently that call centers outside of Mumbai, India and engaged in threatening fake “tax demand” phone calls to American taxpayers were raided by authorities, netting a substantial number of arrests and detentions in an “on-going” investigation. The call centers were notorious for “scamming” American taxpayers. They netted huge sums of money from the illicit activity and irritated thousands of Americans due to “robocalling” tactics.

    The raids come on the heels of the IRS warning taxpayers against telephone scammers targeting students and parents during the back-to-school season and demanding payments for non-existent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.” The raids were conducted independently of American authorities, according to published reports.

    Nevertheless, it is a given that such “scamming” activity, whether centered in the U.S. or overseas, will continue, perhaps on a lesser scale. Therefore, vigilance, according to the IRS, is called for, particularly with the advent of the new scholastic year.

    Beware of IRS impersonators calling students and parents and demanding that they wire money immediately to pay a fake “federal student tax.” If a target is non-compliant to the demand, the scammer may become aggressive and threaten to report the student or parent to the police to be arrested.

    Scammers will often target a significant date such as the beginning of a school year or a semester to fraudulently extract funds from victims. Being aware of such dates can heighten vigilance.

    According to the IRS, if an individual receives an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some of the telltale signs that the call is illegitimate to help protect yourself:

    The IRS will never:
    • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill if an individual owes any taxes.
    • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have a potential victim arrested for not paying the demand.
    • Demand that a tax be paid without providing the opportunity to question or appeal the amount claimed to be due.
    • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
    If an individual receives a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, the IRS suggests you should take the following action:
    • Do not give out any information and hang up immediately.
    • Search the web for telephone numbers scammers leave in voicemail asking for a call back. Some of the phone numbers may be published online and linked to criminal activity.
    • Contact the U.S. Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page or call 800-366-4484 toll free.
    • Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.