Observing International Fraud Awareness Week

A Message from Damon Rowe, Executive Director, IRS Office of Fraud Enforcement

Earlier this year, as part of a continuing focus on tax compliance issues, I became the agency's first director of the newly created Office of Fraud Enforcement. In this role, I provide agencywide executive leadership and direction in the design, development and delivery of major activities within the Office of Fraud Enforcement in support of IRS efforts to detect and deter fraud while strengthening the national fraud program. This is a new way of doing business and it is already paying dividends. Prior to my role in overseeing the Office of Fraud Enforcement, I spent my career in the IRS Criminal Investigation division, so I know the value of fraud referrals, critical examination of issues and working with my colleagues from other business units on voluntary compliance.

I'm pleased to mark International Fraud Awareness Week and promote the incredible investment the IRS has made in the area of fraud enforcement. This week, we take part in a global effort to minimize the impact of fraud, including tax fraud, by promoting fraud awareness and education. The IRS's efforts to combat tax and other financial fraud help protect taxpayers around the world and highlight how important fraud prevention is to society.

Fraud comes in many forms and while I am primarily focused on those frauds that affect tax administration, this week is an opportunity to focus on all kinds of frauds that affect consumers around the world. This year has been tough for consumers as new scams targeting our most vulnerable populations are everywhere you look. In one example of local organizations fighting back, the Worcester County Vulnerable Adult Task Force continued to educate and raise awareness about common fraud schemes with a "No-Scam November" initiative. The focus of the initiative is preventing scams before they cause financial damage to the victim. They know they don't have the means to investigate and identify the criminals behind each scam, so they focus on education. They do what they are good at. We are doing what we are good at also.

The theme for 2020 is working together – with law enforcement, with internal partners, with the private sector. In addition to leveraging existing law enforcement relationships, I have a continued focus on unscrupulous activities of taxpayers and professional enablers that undermine our federal tax laws in a manner that is consistent and fair to the American public. I am building a culture where every compliance employee has a commitment for awareness of tax fraud related issues — and they prioritize those issues for the agency.

In observance of International Fraud Awareness Week, I want to encourage everyone to take a second and reflect on steps you can take to combat fraud in your daily lives. Call a friend or a family member to warn them or post awareness messages on social media — do your part!