IRS Agents Arrest Five Phone Scammers

At long last, agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (or “TIGTA”) arrested five individuals who impersonated IRS employees and demanded payments from taxpayers.  They were arrested in Miami and will be charged with the following federal crimes:  wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They were identified as Jennifer V Nunez, Dennis D Caballero, Arnoldo P Mirabal, Yaritza E Diaz, and Roberto F Caballero.  Authorities claimed they were responsible for nearly $2 million in schemes that defrauded more than 1,500 victims over the telephone.

These suspects allegedly conspired with others to commit wire fraud by falsely impersonating IRS agents and demanded money under false pretenses. The scam victims received phone calls from people claiming to be from IRS, who told them IRS would arrest them if they did not make payments immediately. The scammers made these threats and used other intimidation methods to scare the victims to wire money, using MoneyGram, Walmart and other wire services.

The arrests point to the fact that TIGTA is making some progress in identifying IRS impersonation scammers. The government reported that these continuing telephone scams have resulted in known taxpayer losses of more than $36 million, averaging more than $5,700 in losses per taxpayer.  TIGTA has been monitoring and investigating these IRS impersonation scams since 2013.  And as of May 24, 2016, TIGTA received approximately 1.2 million calls from victimized taxpayers, and nearly 6,400 taxpayers have reported that they were defrauded.

Most recently, TIGTA reported that telephone scammers have encouraged victims to pay money using iTunes cards.  Other scams have involved victims being instructed to wire money using MoneyGram, Western Union, and Walmart.

The TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George has suggested that “no legitimate U. S. Treasury or IRS official will demand that anyone make payments via MoneyGram, Western Union, Walmart or any other money wiring method, for any debt to IRS or the Department of the Treasury,”   Further, George said. “Nor will the Department of the Treasury demand that anyone pay a debt or secure one by using iTunes cards or other prepaid debit cards. Hang up on these fraudulent callers and go to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration scam reporting page to report the call.”

If you or a friend receives a threatening telephone call from someone claiming to be from IRS, remember the following:

                IRS will never:

  • Call and demand immediate payment, nor will IRS call you about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
  • IRS will never demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • IRS will never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • IRS will never threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone pretending to be from IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

  • Call IRS at 800-829-1040. Real IRS employees will assist.

Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

So, if someone pretending to be from IRS contacts you by telephone or online and asks you to verify your social security number, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers, do not answer them.  Just hang up.  Report the call or contact along with the scammer’s telephone number to IRS using the procedure outlined above.

This entry was posted in News and tagged , .
  • About the Author

    Portrait

    Howard L. Richshafer

    Howard Richshafer joined Wood + Lamping in 2008, and his practice is focused on civil and criminal tax problems, estate planning and probate, tax court trial work, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate business matters. Howard is also a licensed Ohio CPA. Over the past 40 years, Howard has represented clients experiencing all types of civil and criminal tax problems with IRS. Those problems include IRS audits, IRS criminal investigations, enforced collection of unpaid tax liabilities involving levies, liens, and seizures of assets and income.

  • Contact Us

    Wood + Lamping LLP

    600 Vine Street Suite 2500
    Cincinnati, OH 45202
    513-852-6000 main
    513-852-6087 fax