On November 5, 2015 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority issued an investor alert entitled “Tools of the Fraud Trade: Phones and Emotions” warning investors’ prevalence commonly emergent phone scam wherein fraudsters contact unsuspecting investors claiming to be employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These very convincing fraudsters oftentimes use a very aggressive and official sounding approach in these phone calls demanding the immediate payment of claimed back taxes to avoid arrest, penalties and other prosecution.
The investor alert has indicated that according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, over 4,500 taxpayers have been victimized since October of 2013, handing over some $23,000,000.00 to the fraudsters. FINRA’s HELPS Program known as Securities Helpline for Seniors has received a number of calls and complaints from individuals who have received these impersonation scam calls and have issued this investor alert to caution investors. The investor alert also notes that these fraudsters oftentimes use blocked phone numbers that don’t show up on caller ID, utilize non-working phone numbers and even use fake caller ID identification names, titles and numbers to give the appearance of the legitimacy of the fraudsters calls is coming from the IRS or another government agency - these scammers are good at what they do.
Investors are also advised that it is clearly not the practice of the Internal Revenue Service to call taxpayers to demand a wire or mailing of monies, as all notifications of this nature that might be legitimate issued by the IRS are only sent by way of a written notification through the United States mails. The fraudsters may also suggest payment of a bogus tax liability by asking for your credit card number.
We offer a free initial consultation to investors who feel they may have been victimized by a fraudster phone scam. For a free initial consultation, contact The Law Offices of Timothy J. O’Connor at (518) 426-7700.