FBI San Diego
Special Agent Davene Butler
(858) 320-1800
September 29, 2014

Internal Revenue Service Telephone Scam

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received reports related to a telephone scam in which the caller purports to be an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representative. Using intimidation tactics, the caller tries to take control of the situation from the beginning. The caller advises the recipient of the call that the IRS has charges against them and threatens legal action and arrest. If the recipient questions the caller in any way, the caller becomes more aggressive.

The caller continues to intimidate by threatening to confiscate the recipient’s property, freeze bank accounts, and have the recipient arrested and placed in jail. The reported alleged charges include defrauding the government, money owed for back taxes, law suits pending against the recipient, and nonpayment of taxes.

The recipients are advised that it will cost thousands of dollars in fees/court costs to resolve this matter. The caller creates a sense of urgency by saying that being arrested can be avoided and fees reduced if the recipient purchases MoneyPak cards to cover the fees within an hour.

Sometimes the caller provides specific instructions on where to purchase the MoneyPak cards and the amount to put on each card. The caller tells the recipient not to tell anyone about the issue and to remain on the telephone until the MoneyPak cards are purchased and the MoneyPak codes are provided to the caller. The caller states that if the call is disconnected for any reason, the recipient would be arrested. Some recipients reported once the caller obtained the MoneyPak codes, they were advised that the transaction took too long and additional fees were required.

Call recipients, who are primarily immigrants, reported that the caller spoke with broken English or stated the caller had an Indian accent. If you receive a call similar to this follow these tips:

  • Resist the pressure to act quickly.
  • Report the contact to TIGTA at http://www.treasury.gov/tigta by clicking on the red button, “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting.”
  • Use caution when asked to use a specific payment method. The IRS would not require a specific payment method such as a MoneyPak card or wire transfer.
  • If you feel threatened, contact your local police department.