I am writing about the IRS telephone tax scam again because it is not going away anytime soon. In fact, the scam is gathering steam and speed. According to CBS News, “The people behind this scam are calling at least 10,000 Americans every week.”The IRS continues to issue alerts on irs.gov about this massive phone scam. However these scammers are absolutely ruthless. So don’t let your guard down, even if you’ve already filed your tax return. If anyone calls saying they are from the IRS, hang up the phone. If they leave a voice message do not return the call.According to the CBS report, Treasury Department Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Tim Camus said, "This scam impacts everybody. We've had very, very educated and intelligent people fall for it.” Camus also said that in the history of scams that he's had to deal with, this is the "largest, most pervasive impersonation scam in the history of the agency."So far, at least 366,000 people have reported receiving a call and more than 3,000 of them have been fooled by the scam, giving up a total of $15.5 million. The CBS report stated that Camus received a scam call demanding money on his home phone. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for who the scammers are calling, so once again I urge you to stay alert.How the scam is played out is illustrated in the CBS News report by what happened to Al Cadenhead, a senior pastor at Providence Baptist church in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is his story that he has shared in hopes of helping others avoid the same ordeal.“Last fall, he got a message on his cell phone from someone claiming to be with the IRS. "Don't disregard this message as delay in calling us back might end up in a legal matter for you," the message said. He did call back -- and it was the beginning of a terrifying ordeal."This woman gave me her name and her badge number and said she was informing me that they were filing a warrant for my arrest," Cadenhead said. "For tax fraud; and she started listing all the things they were going to do."He said she told him they would freeze his accounts and put a lien on his hous"My heart was racing. It was racing. I am very afraid at that point," Cadenhead said.He did not believe he had done anything wrong, but the stakes were too high to fight.”"I didn't want to cause embarrassment to my family or to my church. I'm retiring in a few months. This is not how I want to be remembered, being arrested," Cadenhead said.So he reluctantly followed orders. Again and again he drove to his bank and withdrew money, then went to drugstores, where he bought prepaid debit cards. Finally, he read the scammers the PIN numbers on the cards -- all they needed to get the money.He said the entire ordeal lasted from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 p.m. and he was on the phone the entire time. At the end of it all, they got $16,000 from him.As is stated on irs.gov and numerous other articles, the perpetrators use technology that makes the caller ID show area code 202 -- for Washington, D.C., home of the IRS. Despite this, sources say, the calls are really coming from a sophisticated crime ring overseas.The IRS advises if you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS demanding immediate payment and threatening you with arrest, you are being scammed and you need to hang up the phone.(www.cbsnews.com/news/dangerous-irs-phone-scam-unfolding-on-your-phone/?ftag=YHF4eb9d17
)I have had reports of my own clients receiving calls. Heed the IRS advice. If you don’t recognize the number on your caller ID, just don’t answer the phone. If you do answer and someone says they’re from the IRS, you know what to do. Hang up. Don’t give them a chance to count you among the innocent people scammed out of your hard earned money.