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You know things are bad when even Treasury officials get hit with a tax scam.
Fake IRS agents have targeted more than 366,000 people with harassing phone calls demanding payments and threatening jail as part of a huge nationwide tax scam.
More than 3,000 people have fallen for the ruse, Timothy Camus, a Treasury deputy inspector general for tax administration, said Thursday. They have been duped out of a total of $15.5 million. People in every state have been targeted. "The number of complaints we have received about this scam make it the largest, most pervasive impersonation scam in the history of our agency," Camus told the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing. The scam is so widespread that investigators believe there is more than one group of perpetrators, including some overseas.
Camus said even he received a call from one of the scammers at his home on a Saturday. He said he had a stern message for the caller: "Your day will come." So far, Camus said, two people in Florida have been arrested. They were accused of being part of a scam that involved people in call centers in India contacting U.S. taxpayers and pretending to be IRS agents.
As part of the scam, fake IRS agents call taxpayers, claim they owe taxes, and demand payment using a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. Those who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license, Camus said. The callers might even know the last four digits of the taxpayer's Social Security number, Camus said.
- Feds Say Tax Fraud Rises From the Dead
- Tax Refund Fraud Soaring, Little IRS Can Do
- Wave of Fake Federal and State Tax Returns Filed
-- The Associated Press