The eight individuals were allegedly involved in the IRS impersonation scam
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, applauded the announcement by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that eight individuals have been arrested for their role in the IRS impersonation scam. The suspects are accused of stealing nearly $8.8 million from more than 7,000 victims by impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents.
The eight arrests were based upon indictments for 11 individuals. Two other suspects were previously arrested in May 2016 as a result of a tip the Senate Aging Committee provided TIGTA. One person remains at large.
As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, Senators Collins and Casey have championed efforts to expose scams by encouraging a robust response from federal law enforcement agencies and cautioning all Americans, particularly seniors.
“Putting a stop to aggressive and ruthless scams has long been one of my highest priorities as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee,” said Senator Collins. “Over the past several years, the Aging Committee has shone a spotlight on the IRS impersonation scam, which has consistently ranked as the top reported complaint to the Committee’s Fraud Hotline. These arrests should put other con artists on notice that we will relentlessly pursue those who seek to rob seniors of their hard-earned savings.”
“Every day, seniors in Pennsylvania and around the country receive calls from scammers seeking to defraud them out of their money,” said Senator Casey. “TIGTA’s continued efforts to catch and arrest suspects of these schemes are critical to reducing and ultimately eradicating financial scams. The Aging committee will continue to partner with the Departments of Justice and Treasury to protect older Americans from scam artists.”
In April 2015, the Aging Committee held a hearing that examined IRS impersonation scams and work by law enforcement to put a stop to them and find and prosecute those involved.
Last year, the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline (1-855-303-9470) received nearly 2,300 calls from seniors across the country. The most common complaint reported to the Fraud Hotline continues to be the IRS impersonation scam. Data from the Fraud Hotline was used to publish a comprehensive anti-fraud resource guide titled, “Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors.”
According to the Government Accountability Office, seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion to financial exploitation and fraud every year. With such scams reaching epidemic proportions across the country, the IRS has released several tips to help taxpayers identify suspicious calls that may be part of a scam:
- The IRS will never call a taxpayer to demand that payment be immediately delivered over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed a letter to the taxpayer.
- The IRS will never demand that a taxpayer pay taxes without giving him or her the opportunity to question or appeal the amount claimed to be owed.
- The IRS will never ask for a credit, debit, or gift card number over the phone or require a taxpayer to use a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card or gift card.
- The IRS will never threaten to send local police or other law enforcement to have a taxpayer arrested.