IRS phone scammers busted

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Eight people were arrested this week for impersonating Internal Revenue Service employees and calling innocent taxpayers to threaten them about bogus tax debts.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration announced the arrests Thursday. TIGTA and the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General arrested the suspects in Miami on Tuesday, charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to court documents, the suspects are responsible for defrauded more than 7,000 victims out of nearly $8.8 million.

The eight suspects are among 11 who have been indicted and charged in the scheme. Eight people were arrested Tuesday and two others were arrested last May. Another suspect is still at large. Accounting Today reached out for comment, but TIGTA and the U.S. Attorney's office handling the case had no information on the suspects' attorneys.

The suspects allegedly conspired with others to commit wire fraud by impersonating IRS agents and demanding money from victims, calling people and telling them the IRS would arrest them if they did not send payment immediately. The scammers would try to persuade victims to send the money via MoneyGram, Walmart2Walmart Money Transfer and other wire services. In some cases, they would tell victims to pay the funds through prepaid debit cards or iTunes gift cards.

“No legitimate employee of the United States Treasury Department or the Internal Revenue Service will demand that anyone make payments via MoneyGram, Western Union, Walmart2Walmart Money Transfer, or any other money wiring method, for any debt to the IRS or the Department of the Treasury,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. “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. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and go to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) scam reporting page to report the call.”

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