Back in November, BBB issued a warning regarding a new IRS phone scam targeting taxpayers and immigrants across the nation. The scammers, pretending to be IRS agents, used threats and fear to trick people into paying taxes they didn’t owe, usually via prepaid card or wire transfer. These calls proved to be numerous and, unfortunately, fairly effective, with many people claiming that they have received such calls and have been tricked out of hundreds of dollars.
Recently, Rekah Basu, a journalist at the Des Moines Register, published an article describing her encounter with an IRS phone scammer. At first, Basu let the calls go to her answering machine, but after receiving several slightly-threatening messages over various months she decided to call back.
The “IRS agent” who picked up her call said his name was Ian Morgan, yet Basu noticed he had a strong Indian accent. He told her that an IRS audit suggested Basu’s income was higher than she reported and accused her of tax fraud. When Basu began to ask specific questions about her taxes and income, the scammer avoided her questions and told Basu to have her attorney call him immediately. Basu stated she didn’t have one and continued to ask questions, saying she was a journalist. At this point, the scammer ended his charade.
The scammer admitted that he did not work for the IRS and in reality he was an MBA student in India who earned $50,000 a month by making these fraudulent phone calls. While he wouldn’t say specifically where he was working from, he said thousands of others were doing the same thing and the operation had been going on for several years without any interference from law enforcement.
When asked how he could justify this kind of extortion, the scammer stated he’d rather be rich than poor, yet admitted to feeling guilty and planning to quit after graduation.
It is a sad truth that thousands of people are making a living by tricking people out of their hard earned savings. Hopefully, less and less people will fall for these types of scams by staying alert and asking questions, just as Rekah Basu did. If you receive this type of suspicious calls, keep in mind that the IRS will never reach out to you over the phone and will certainly not request money via prepaid card or wire transfer.
Read Rekah Basu’s entire article here.