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Telephone scammers working Santa Clarita Valley masquerading as IRS agents

Posted: July 10, 2014 7:11 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2014 7:11 p.m.

An insurance fraud investigator from Valencia knew something was wrong when a caller to his phone claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service and said there was a warrant for his arrest for tax fraud.

“It became pretty humorous, really. I was actually laughing,” said local resident Mike Buck, who investigates insurance fraud for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Buck said he got the call this week from a woman who spoke with a Jamaican accent. She claimed Buck owed the IRS more than $20,000 for tax fraud and said it was “urgent” that Buck call another number, a toll-free number, to speak to an investigator.

The fake IRS investigator, who identified himself as Daniel Cruz, sounded official at first as he tried to get Buck to divulge personal information. But the man’s story soon cracked when Buck began pressing him for details.

“He hung up on me,” said Buck, who called back only to find the number disconnected.
Buck said he then called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to report the scam. A deputy came out and took a report, Buck said.

Although a watch commander at the station said Thursday evening he couldn’t verify that deputies took a report, an email sent out by Professional Tax & Financial Services in Valencia on Thursday said the company has received several calls recently from clients who have received calls from someone impersonating an IRS officer and requesting personal information.

“This is a scam,” firm co-owner Damon Simpson wrote. “Do not release any information to the caller.”

Simpson notes that in “only a few cases” does the IRS make personal phone calls to taxpayers, and in all such cases the agency first sends a letter before calling.

According to the IRS’ website, the tax agency is very familiar with what it calls “pervasive telephone scams” by people falsely claiming to be IRS agents. It lists the tactic among its “dirty dozen” tax scams of 2014.

“These phone scams include many variations, ranging from instances from where callers say the victims owe money or are entitled to a huge refund. Some calls can threaten arrest and threaten a driver’s license revocation,” the IRS website warns.

People who receive bogus calls claiming to be from the IRS should report them to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, 800-366-4484, the IRS’s website says. Victims also can visit, the Federal Trade Commission’s website, and file a complaint online using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” form, the website says.
More information and a complete list of common scams can be found at

Although Buck spotted the scam immediately, he said he worries that other people, particularly the elderly, might be taken in.

“I’ve lived here for 40 years and I care about this community,” said Buck. “I wouldn’t want anyone to fall for this.”




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