FINRA Investor Alert: Phones & Emotions Used as Tools for Fake IRS Scam

FINRA issued an Investor Alert on Thursday, November 5, 2015, informing investors of a potential scam using impersonations of the Internal Revenue Service. The alert warns investors of the risks of sending money or providing personal information to these individuals. The scam is timed to coincide with the extension deadline for all individuals who filed for a tax extension in April. The FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors—HELPS™ has received numerous calls recently from investors reporting this impersonation scam. Since the scam first made its presence in 2013, more than 700,000 individuals have reported it.

It is important to be aware of the scam and its elements. It involves an individual calling your phone, who sounds official, is often aggressive, and claims to be associated with the IRS. They will often demand payment of your taxes immediately and threaten your with arrest. The Investor Alert recommends that should any individual receive this type of call to end the conversation promptly. This allows the individual to remove any emotional holds that the fraudster may have.

It is important to know these facts regarding the IRS:

  • The IRS will not require you to pay your taxes using various forms such as prepaid cards.
  • The IRS will not threaten arrest for non-payment.
  • The IRS will not use a telephone call to request credit card information.
  • The IRS will not demand you pay taxes without allowing you to appeal or question the amount.

An important step to take after ending the phone call promptly is to contact the IRS directly in order to determine if the person who called is associated with the IRS or an employee.

This is a commonly used tactic known as a "boiler room" scam. We've put together a video explaining some of the dangers behind this worryingly common scam.

If you believe you have been scammed, call Meyer Wilson. Our securities fraud attorneys offer free consultations so you can discuss your case with us in a confidential, personal manner. We aim to help our clients recover their losses after being defrauded. Learn if we may be able to help you today.


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