IRS Warns of Fraud Scheme Targeting Foreign Nationals and Others

Fragomen reports:

Executive Summary

Individuals purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service are targeting recent immigrants and others with false claims that victims owe money to the IRS. Foreign nationals who receive suspect calls or emails should not provide any personal or financial information or transfer any funds.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning about a sophisticated telephone scam that has been targeting recent immigrants and taxpayers throughout the country. In the scam, individuals purporting to be from the IRS tell victims they owe IRS money and pressure them to pay by providing a credit card number over the phone or through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.

These callers use “spoofing” technology to display the IRS toll-free number on caller ID. They use fake names and IRS badge numbers and may be able to recite the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number. Sometimes, they send victims bogus IRS emails as a follow-up to their calls.

If the victim refuses to cooperate, the caller may become hostile and threaten arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver's license. Victims may receive a follow-up call from accomplices claiming to be from the local police or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The IRS has confirmed that it does not initiate contact by electronic communication to request personal or financial information such as a Social Security Number, credit card number, pre-loaded debit card number, or bank account information. The agency’s first contact with a taxpayer is likely to occur by U.S. mail.

What to Do if You Are Targeted In the Scam

If you receive a suspect phone call, take precaution.

Do not provide any personal or financial information, such as your Social Security Number, credit card number, pre-loaded debit card number, or bank account information. If the caller threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation for lack of payment, the call is not legitimate.

Foreign nationals should be vigilant against all types of immigration fraud. In recent months, foreign nationals have also been the target of other scams, including fraud schemes involving the Diversity Visa Lottery and the Immigrant Investor Visa. Take precautions and follow the guidelines in our recent Client Alerts