Federal Investigators Call IRS Scam the Most Pervasive in History

The D.C. Office of the Attorney General reports a surge in complaints about a scam federal investigators call the most pervasive in history.

People pretending to be with the IRS call taxpayers and tell them they owe money.

Sally Gere, an attorney in the Office of the Attorney General, is one of millions of to receive the threatening calls.

“In one day alone they called me four times,” she said.

The callers told her it was her last change to respond to the IRS before serious legal action was taken.

Gere suspected it was a scam but many people fear the IRS and believe it may be real.

Recently a taxpayer in Loudoun County fell victim. The caller demanded more than $27,000 to be paid with gift cards or the taxpayer would be arrested. In fear of going to jail, the victim paid.


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Since October 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which investigates IRS scams, found Americans lost more than $44 million to IRS impersonators. Maryland and Virginia are among the top 10 states where taxpayers have been scammed out of the most money. D.C. ranked 42nd.

“Phone calls related to alleged IRS debts are fraudulent calls,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said. “Hang up immediately.”

His office is investigating the phone numbers behind the calls, often with a local area code.

“Who owns these numbers, once we discover that, we go out and try to get more information to see who’s behind these companies,” Racine said.

What you need to know:

  • The IRS will never call you and demand money. You will receive a notice in the mail.
  • The IRS will never email you asking for money.
  • The IRS never requires a specific type of payment.
  • The IRS never asks for payment with gift cards.
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