IRS Scams: Inside & Out

The IRS makes a lot of money off the American people and certain American people make a lot of money off the IRS.  Some people cheat the system as ordinary citizens from outside the agency.  And some cheat the system by virtue of their insider/employee status.  Tax scams have evolved over time and have adapted to changes in technology.  But what has not changed are the most basic elements of almost all tax scams.  They rely on the fact that nearly everybody in the country has (or potentially could have) some kind of contact or interaction with the IRS.  And they rely on the fact that the IRS is so huge that they can’t always keep very close tabs on their own personnel.

Two recent headlines illustrate my point.

1. Santa Cruz, CA Phone Scam: Scammer targets South Asians and Indians, claims to be an IRS representative, tells victims that there is an open criminal tax investigation against them, and convinces them to wire money.  The strategy is simple: if you contact enough people, somebody is bound to take the bait.

2. Baton Rouge, LA IRS Manager Sentenced for Illegal Tax Business: She operated a tax & accounting business while serving as a supervisory revenue agent and group manager.  She used IRS databases for the benefit of her own business.

The IRS manager has been caught, the phone scammer has not.

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