The United States Justice Department has just indicted 56 people from both the United States and India for pretending to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service so they could scam Americans out of money. These scammers set up call centers in India where fraudulent agents would call Americans and scare them into paying them money. The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that 15,000 people have gotten scammed by these con artists and that over $300 million has been stolen as a result.
In September, there was one incident where a woman from National City, California received a phone call on her voice mail from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The message said that she was in trouble with the IRS and that she may be charged with tax fraud or tax evasion. Naturally, this caused the woman to panic so she called the phone number that the supposed agent had left for her. When she called, a man answered and demanded that she pay $1,000 since that’s what he claimed she owed. Then she told him she could only pay $500, which he agreed to.
But this man wasn’t about to ask for a check or credit card number. Instead, he did what any good scammer would do. He told her to keep the phone line open and drive to the nearest grocery store so she could purchase $500 worth of gift cards for iTunes. Once she did this, she gave the man on the phone the redemption codes… and the rest is history. She got scammed.
People never usually think about their income taxes until the first quarter of the new year. That’s when they have to prepare their income tax forms and submit them to the Internal Revenue Service before April 17th. However, if you were to get a phone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent and they told you that you owed back taxes, don’t be so quick to give them money. A real IRS agent will mail you a certified letter or ask you to visit one of their regional offices. They would never make you purchase iTunes gift cards as a way to pay back taxes. A lot of this should be common sense, but there are people who get scared easily by threats of prosecution that they don’t think in their right mind when they get calls like these.