By: Mike Pike
The Associated Press reported this week that fake IRS agents have targeted more than 366,000 people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail as part of a huge nationwide tax scam that has cost taxpayers $15.5 million. More than 3,000 people have fallen for the ruse since 2013, according to the IRS. As part of the scam, fake IRS agents call taxpayers claiming they owe taxes and demanding payment using a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. Those who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. The callers might even know the last four digits of the taxpayer’s Social Security number.
They request prepaid debit cards because they are harder to trace than bank cards. Prepaid debit cards are different from bank cards because they are not connected to a bank account. Instead, consumers buy the cards at stores and use them just like a bankcard until the money runs out or they add more.
Real IRS agents usually contact people first by mail and they never demand payment by debit card, credit card or wire transfer.
A spokesman for the IRS stated, “Our message is simple, if someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you do not pay immediately, it is a scam artist calling. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by telephone. If you do owe money to the IRS, chances are you have already received some form of a notice or correspondence from the IRS in your mailbox.”
The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike have assisted many clients in the past when they have received phone calls or letters from scammers seeking money. If you would like to speak to an attorney about a bizarre letter or phone call you’ve received recently, please don’t hesitate in contacting one. They will be able to assist you and perhaps save you a great deal of money, embarrassment and trouble.
Mike currently is the attorney for the Cities of Radcliff and Vine Grove, advising elected officials, employees, and various city boards on a wide variety of legal matters. A member of the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, Hardin County Bar, Meade County Bar, and Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Mike focuses his legal practice on cases concerning personal injury and social security, municipal law, business formation, and estates and probate law. Additionally, Mike oversees the real estate law department for the firm.