Tom Ruscha IRS phone scam finally may be fizzling out
Online Security at IRS phone scam finally
may be fizzling out
We all should be thankful on this Thanksgiving Day that one of the worst scams to hit the Lehigh
Valley, and the nation, finally is on its way to being cooked.
Complaints about the IRS phone scam have dropped significantly in the past month or so. After three
years, international detective work and technological advances finally have carved deeply into these
The scheme isn't completely stuffed away yet, so remain vigilant. But it's certainly not as prevalent as
The relentless calls started in fall 2013. Con artists pose as IRS and U.S. Treasury agents and threaten
people with a lawsuit, arrest or grand jury investigation unless they immediately pay supposed tax
The debts aren't real but the callers bully people into paying over the phone, usually with prepaid
debit cards and iTunes cards. More than 9,600 people, including some locally, have lost a combined
$50 million. A California man lost $136,000 when he was exploited repeatedly over 20 days,
according to the U.S. Attorney General's Office.
I heard from hundreds of people who got the calls. Some were scared. Others were confused about
whether the calls were legitimate. Many knew they were fraudulent and wanted to know how to stop
them or where to report the scoundrels.
Nearly 2 million complaints about the scam have been reported to the Inspector General for Tax
Administration. It's also the top scam complaint to the Better Business Bureau.