If you were to rank the experiences Americans would most like to avoid, one would be a visit from the IRS. Even an envelope in the mail from the IRS raises the anxiety level. And that’s even if you’ve been honest with your taxes and have done nothing wrong. An encounter with the IRS ranks up there with getting a tooth yanked.
The question has even been raised as to whether such an institution has a place in a free society. The opportunity for oppression is great. That’s not to say all employees of the IRS are misanthropes. Clearly not. But our entire income tax system leaves much to be desired in complexity and in the opportunity for abuse.
If the real IRS is a cause for anxiety, fake agents are even worse. Imagine posing as an IRS agent and scamming taxpayers out of millions of dollars. That’s what has happened in Georgia. Four men who have been masquerading as IRS agents and stealing from citizens have been arrested. If convicted, they face 20 years in prison.
“Dunwoody residents Moin Gohil, 22, and Nakul Chetiwal, 27, and Tucker resident Parvez Jiwani, 39, are accused of using fake IDs to pick up $666,537 wired from 784 victims who thought they were paying the IRS. The false IDs the men used are also linked to 6,530 other fraudulent transactions totaling more than $2.8 million, prosecutors say.
“Now, the three Georgia men, along with a 26-year-old Illinois man, Pratik Patel, are facing charges of wire fraud, which could bring prison sentences of up to 20 years.”
There is no doubt that this was a very comprehensive, and well thought-out plan. It had to be in order to pull off a scam of this size.
“The scheme likely originated in India, federal prosecutors said. Callers would contact U.S. residents and tell them they owed back taxes to the IRS and must immediately wire money to pay the debts.
“Gohil, Chetiwal and Jiwani were “runners” whose role was to pick up fraud proceeds, the Justice Department says. Patel is accused of helping at least one of the men.
“The case is pending in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.”
The lesson here is simple. The IRS does not go around calling people on the phone demanding that they wire money. If you get such a phone call, you can be sure it’s not from the IRS.
For all its bureaucracy, the IRS grinds through a standard procedure involving written correspondence. An agent is not told to call up someone and to tell them to wire money. And keep in mind that although this is the IRS, taxpayers do have rights including that of appeal. Again, a random phone call demanding money for alleged back taxes offers no such opportunities for appeal. So it’s not from the IRS.
Paying taxes can be unpleasant enough. Getting scammed by phony agents to send money is worse. Don’t let it happen to you.
Source: WFTV 9
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