If you have a phone, you’ve probably heard from an IRS imposter— someone claiming you owe thousands of dollars and better pay up immediately, or else terrible things will happen. In the last nine months, more than 111,000 of you reported calls like that to the FTC, and dozens wrote blog comments about callers with South Asian accents posing as IRS agents. Your reports provide crucial information to law enforcement about scam tactics, trends and locations.
The FTC aggressively sues scammers who operate across borders and target people in the US with imposter schemes. For example, a federal court recently temporarily shut down and froze the assets of a tech support operation that directed people to call a boiler room in India for computer help, then pressured them to spend $200 to $400 for useless repair services. That case was one of a dozen similar cases brought by the FTC.
The FTC also works with agencies worldwide to boost cooperation against cross border scams. Next month, staff from the Commission’s Office of International Affairs will meet for the fifth time with industry, trade groups, law enforcement and tech experts to continue efforts to thwart fraudsters operating in India. A recent police raid on nine call centers in India shows the benefit of collaboration.
If you get an unexpected call about a “tax debt,” remember: if the IRS needs to reach you, it will send a letter. Don’t give the caller any financial or personal information, and don’t send payment by money transfer, debit card or iTunes card. Hang up, and report the call to the FTC and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).