Sahil Patel of Pennsylvania and organizer of a fraudulent scheme in which taxpayers were threatened by phone calls claiming to come from the IRS and/or the FBI demanding payment, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and 3 years of supervision upon his release.
Michael Cohn, published in Accounting Today, stated that Patel hired English-speaking employees in India-based “call centers” to attempt to receive payment from his U.S. targets.
In total, the scam was able to victimize U.S. citizens out of at least $1.2 million dollars.
Despite Patel’s arrest, the scams like this have been on the rise in the past year. To help recognize phone scams, the IRS has published Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call. The IRS does not:
- Call you to demand immediate payment. They will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.
If you have been targeted, an incident can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tigta.gov, or by calling the TIGTA hotline at 1-800-366-4484.