Sometimes on this blog, we sound like a broken record. After years of helping clients resolve their tax problems, we understand how the IRS initiates audits.
And one thing we continue to write in public-service type announcements is: ‘legitimate’ IRS agents will never, ever contact you out of the blue by phone or email. CNN reports several more Californians have fallen victim to IRS impersonators. One elderly woman in San Diego lost more than $12,000. A Hayward man's savings disappeared after scammers drained his account.
India call centers implicated again
Just two weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about a raid on call centers in India. It cast new light on the training and operations behind these schemes.
An indictment filed by U.S. prosecutors accuses more than 61 individuals of building out a separate fraudulent network that bilked approximately 15,000 of more than $300 million. About a third of those charged live in eight states across the country. Prosecutors are asserting federal jurisdiction (the alleged crimes took place in the U.S.) to charge defendants in India as well.
Elderly and immigrants fearing deportation
Apparently, the first step was to purchase personal identification information through data brokers and other unlawful sources. Then the call center operators used high pressure tactics to fleece some of the most vulnerable in our communities out of retirement and other savings.
They used threats of arrest, imprisonment and deportation if the alleged tax balance was not paid immediately. These were enough to scare many reasonable people into complying with their demands.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell cautioned, “If you get one of these calls, it is not the U.S. government calling you … It’s a scam.”
If you know that you owe back taxes, contact an experienced tax attorney to solve the problem. When you are not sure, get a call back number and contact an attorney to discuss your concerns. Missing initial correspondence regarding an audit could trigger a legitimate call regarding something you do need to address.