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FBI and IRS warn of pervasive, maddening business, consumer scams

Michael Cooney | Jan. 23, 2015
FBI says man-in-the-middle e-mail scam cost victims US$214 million. IRS says phone scam has 3,000 victims who’ve paid over US$14 million.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send them cash via prepaid debit cards.

The IRS reminded consumers that they could know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do.

According to the IRS the agency will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.


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