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IRS Representatives Are Scammers

scamSedona AZ (October 7, 2014) – A large-scale scam, involving people claiming to represent the IRS via unsolicited phone calls and emails, has cost citizens across the country, including Arizonans, millions of dollars over the last six months.

During a press conference, Internal Revenue Service spokesperson Bill Brunson said a group is alleging to represent the IRS — appearing to be legitimate in part by caller ID numbers tied to Washington, D.C. — by cold calling people and claiming they owe back taxes.

In order to pay the alleged back taxes, Brunson said the scammers ask for either a prepaid debit card picked up at places like Wal-Mart or for a wire transfer payment. People who do not comply with the demand are threatened with a potential arrest by the local police or have their driver’s license revoked.

A second scammer claiming to represent the police or the state’s department of motor vehicles will then follow up with the person and reiterate the threat.

“They’re applying new technology to an old tool, and, unfortunately, they’ve been very successful,” Brunson said.

The success thus far has been an estimated 1,100 victims across the country who have lost $5 million since January 1, 2014.

scam fraud logoCalifornia has reported $1 million of that total, while Arizonans have been hit for $80,000 since January 1, said Matt Richards, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Those figures could fall short of the actual dollar figure as the 250 to 275 complaints from Arizona residents may fail to represent the totality of the crime, due to embarrassment people feel after being scammed.

“People are being bilked out of their life savings,” Richards said.

What makes the circumstances difficult is the amount of information the scammers have at their disposal. Brunson said the ersatz agents use fake names and have fake IRS badge numbers to supposedly verify their identities, can sometimes recite the last four numbers of a person’s Social Security number or even send emails supporting the initial phone calls.

Richards said the callers also have Americanized names but he said the active investigation prevented him from commenting on whether the scammers were from the U.S. or from another country.

Brunson said the scammers do not target a specific group for their calls.

Telephone scams bilk millions of savings

Telephone scams bilk millions of savings

Lisa Sukenic, a Special Agent and spokesperson in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, said scammers even called her husband and claimed that she owed back taxes to the IRS, then had a second caller threaten to arrest her.

Instead of targeting a specific group, the scammers take advantage of people unfamiliar with IRS tax policies and the processes in place to collect back taxes. The actual process, for people who might have issues with their taxes, includes an email sent after the IRS receives information such as an emailed tax return or a letter sent to a tax preparer who filed for the person.

IRS spokesman Brunson said unlike the scammers, the IRS agency allows taxpayers to contest any possible back taxes, and it does not sign email or snail mail forms with phrases like “regards” among other signs.

Most importantly, “The IRS is not going to ask to go to Wal-Mart and reload a card,” Richards added.

IRS logoRichards indicated some corporate offices like Wal-Mart received notification about the scam.

Glendale Arizona Police Department spokesperson Jay O’Neill said the police agencies would not make arrests for civil matters and will not call somebody prior to making an arrest.

“That’s something we’re going to do in person; we’re going to make physical contact,” O’Neill said.

Sukenic said people who receive a call should avoid providing any personal information to the scammers and should not believe their claims.

Refuse to be intimidated. Contact your local police department if you have been threatened or intimidated by any caller.

Bottom line? Anyone calling on the telephone and representing themselves as an IRS agent, is not. Do not be polite. Hang up. If you receive an email threatening you with an IRS collection, forward it to the police. Never respond to these emails.

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For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. people get intimidated by faker authority????!!!! learn not to get manipulated!!!! stop being stupid.

  2. Second that, Ms. Hewitt. We are shocked at emails that our parents will read and answer, and they are above average intelligent people. No matter what we say, they still open emails from strangers, from companies they did not contact, from people who pretend to be friendly and helpful. We heard our dad talking on the phone after getting a call from a man professing to work for a stock company and offering his services and tips. WHAT! NO, NO, NO! You want stock advice, call your bank or your accountant or call a major company you find listed locally. Anyone who calls you on the phone, hang up! Why are you being nice? HANG UP! Don’t talk to strangers, mom and dad. Don’t correspond with strangers, mom and dad. Don’t answer the door to strangers, mom and dad. Don’t let someone into your house to use the phone or the bathroom, mom and dad. Don’t answer the door in the middle of the night to a crying woman, mom and dad. Tell them through the door without opening it that you’ve called the police and to sit on your step until they arrive. You are not Batman and Robin. You cannot help, you will only become a victim. If you have a car outside, go hit the panic button from safely INSIDE and behind LOCKED doors to keep strangers from approaching your door. Lock yourself in a safe room that someone cannot bust down the door or break a window or smoke you out until police arrive. Tell the police you will stay in that room until they call you back that it’s all safe, that you will NOT OPEN THE INSIDE DOOR if someone knocks on it and even says they are a cop. Tell the dispatcher to stay on the line until he/she says it’s okay to open your door. Get a household alarm and fire system too. Double deadbolts installed professionally and lock all doors including exterior storm doors. Get your windows professionally secured with anti theft devices. Replace windows that do not securely lock or provide protection. Keep your cell phones charged and with you at all times, day and night. Learn how to use them! If a two year old can do it, mom and dad, so can you. End lecture. Now listen please.

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  4. (deleted by editor) leeches on society

  5. Bettye says:

    I wasn’t going to mention this because it has nothing to do with the IRS, however after speaking to a friend today who just returned from the summer away, I found Myself at the end of the conversation yelling… “and hang up on anyone calling from the IRS”.

    She started by telling Me that Her computer and Internet haven’t been working since She came home, and even the Microsoft Technical Dept. had called Her and said they found a virus in Her computer and wanted to help Her get rid of it, but She would need to turn on Her computer and follow their instructions, at which time I asked ‘don’t You have a Macintosh?’. She went on to tell Me His accent was so thick She couldn’t understand Him but was trying to do what He told Her, while I’m sitting there saying ‘No’, ‘No’, ‘No’. She was still upset about it and said after 1 1/2 hours She couldn’t get Her computer to turn on and hung up. “Thank God!”

    This is a SCAM!!! They will lead You into letting them into Your computer, charge You money, and worst case… Identity Theft. I’ve received calls from Steve, Phil, Frank, on and on at least 9-10 times, and they all say exactly the same thing in the same horrible accent that you can hardly understand.

    Here is a Google list explaining the problem:

    Pass the word please.

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