News 6 viewer calls IRS imposters to expose scam

News 6 viewer calls IRS imposters to expose scam

A longtime News 6 viewer decided to call back the number left behind on one of those IRS robocalls to  expose the truth.

A woman claiming to be IRS agent Jennifer Smith answered the phone and reminded Joyce Bubenheim that the call was being recorded so “whatever you say must be truth and honest.”

Investigators said the accent and broken English are trademarks of the latest round of imposter intimidation calls consumers have been reporting to the Federal Trade Commission.

The imposters never know your name, or any personal information, yet someone how they know you owe thousands of dollars in back taxes. 

Bubenheim, a target of various phone schemes, said she knew this was just the latest  trap to get her money so she called the number with a 518 area code and played along.

“There’s an awful lot of background noise," Bubenheim said, “So I’m having a difficult time hearing you.”

News 6 shared the audio recording with FTC investigators who said the claim that consumers have miscalculated past tax returns is just one of several con games consumers are reporting.

Will Maxson, a marketing spokesman with the FTC, said many of these boiler rooms “are operated overseas and in many cases, India.”

Maxon said international law enforcement agencies, the Justice Department and Indian Law enforcement officials are all working to arrest the people behind the imposter schemes.   

Maxon said the calls are designed to scare you into doing something before you call the real IRS office and confirm it was all a bluff.

“They make the threat seem imminent, because if you have the time to research it you realize it is a scam and you certainly don’t want to be paying these people,” Maxon said.

The FTC and IRS launched a joint initiative a few weeks ago for taxpayers who feel they may be a victim of tax identity theft.

The site provides everything necessary to file claims and "get your life back in order” in about 120 days.

In the boiler room scam Bubenheim tested, the imposter claimed a government audit of old tax returns found she had miscalculated her tax returns and owed in excess of $6,800.

Of course, it wasn’t true.

Experts remind anyone getting a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS to hang up and call the real IRS office. In most cases, you will find the IRS never called.

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