Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MY PSA for the week: The IRS Phone Scam

Phone message I received this morning:

"Hello, this is John Smith of the Crime Investigation Unit of the IRS. The reason for this call is to let you know a warrant for your arrest has been issued against you and your physical properties. You and your properties have been under surveillance. You must call this number immediately to arrange payment, or the sheriff will appear at your home before close of business today: 206-414-4027."

I took this in stride, though my physical properties were all in a lather.

Later that day, the phone rang. "This is the IRS," I quashed the call.

The third time I heard, "This is the IRS ..." I picked up the phone and told John Smith to go intercourse himself.

Yeah, it's a stupid, funny scam, in line with the Nigerian Bank, your brother is in a Scottish prison and needs bail, kind of funny. But I googled that call-back number to find out just how prevalent this one is. This IRS-arrest gambit has bilked millions of dollars from people who can least afford it. Immigrants, initially; but given their success, now the masterminds have the whole thing on predictive dialing.

So here is my PSA for the month of July. Nothing puts the fear of god into naive citizens, documented immigrants, or undocumented immigrants like a threatening call from a GOV agency. So if you have friends who might be vulnerable to this scam, warn them. Whatever reservations you may have about the IRS, they do not demand payment or threaten arrest over the phone -- ever. And if anyone has an inside track to Home Depot, ask the company to post a warning message next to their pre-paid cash cards -- the cards are how the terrified victims are told to send money. That, or credit card, debit card.

Apparently, this scam is getting VOIP'd from India or Pakistan, so the caller ID actually shows up as IRS with the 800-1040 number.

Over and out.


27 comments:

  1. Next time they call, scream YOU WANT TO SIGN ME TO A RECORD CONTRACT! I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG FOR YOU TO CALL!

    Because there is not than one IRS.
    I.R.S. Records was launched in 1979 by Miles Copeland III, brother of the Police drummer Stewart Copeland and music promoter Ian Copeland. It was the home to groundbreaking artists including R.E.M., The Go-Go’s, The Alarm, The Buzzcocks, and The Dead Kennedys during its 17-year history.
    http://www.irsnashville.com/

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  2. I'm going to share this. Let's make it go viral! Viral like the scum they are.

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  3. And, apparently, to add veracity, these callers will quote the last four digits of your ssn. Off-shoring. Just think where the banks have shipped our records.

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  4. Ugh. And thanks. Also, I love your use of the word intercourse.

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  5. OK, OK—I swear I'll never call you at home again. Jeez.

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  6. Yeah, if you're from India, practice. It's John -- Jauhn, not Joan.

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  7. Once again, I am glad I have caller ID... the calls that have been showing up are unbelievable... to add to your list my called ID had Southern Calif. Edison... no message left.. I did call SCE and they ran the number as well.. busy signal... they also forwarded the number to another dept...

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  8. Sounds more like the IR SS.

    The Maverick theme is playing in my head this morning. Thanks.

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  9. That is deeply disturbing. Makes me want to pull my money out and hide it under my mattress

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  10. thanks, will send this around.

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  11. I'm going to remember Paula Johnson's advice! Because I know that the real IRS always writes letters and demands a check. And so do the states, or at least the 7 or so with which I've had the dubious pleasure of dealing.

    Actually, it was just in my paper this morning that this scam was tried on a small business owner, who called the Scranton police. The paper found it in the police blotter and wrote a fair sized article about it. But they neglected to advise that recipients of such calls tell the caller to go intercourse himself.

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  12. As a friend of mine pointed out, these thieves are sophisticated in some respects but not in others. For example, judging from the call-back area code, they've mistaken Washington State for Washington, DC.

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  13. "Go intercourse himself"! Where's your twitter button, I want to spread the word--

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  14. The IRS and I already have an agreement. Sort of.

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  15. I found notices about this scam when I was searching for info about other scam phone calls I continue to receive. I shared your PSA last night at dinner, and we hope the admonition to "go intercourse himself" gets you lots of hits so the message gets out.

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  16. Yes, this is extremely disturbing.
    I have been gettting emails that I have won a lottery or someone that needs my help, asking me for money, etc. Even though I have a junk email filter.

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  17. A nice service you're providing.

    "I took this in stride, though my physical properties were all in a lather." Loved that!

    I've signed up with Do Not Call twice in the last few months, but the calls keep coming. I think they're really gross--home invasion--but I get looks when I say that to friends.

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  18. Good PSA. Too many scumbag scammers out there who cause great problems for those who are naive and/or vulnerable.

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  19. Sure. Now about that debt you owe from 1985 . . . .

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  20. @ Banjo: Rest assured that I wouldn't look at you funny because that is exactly how I feel about those numerous calls. I did pass the word on to my cleaning lady who is exactly the sort of person these scams target. she thanked me for the heads up.

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  21. The I.R.S. Anybody here have any good ideas what those letters stand for? ;)

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  22. Oh my.........sure to heading our way any day soon....thanks for the heads up!!

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  23. Intercourse Redirection Service?

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  24. Unfortunately, the last personal contact I had with the IRS, wasn't a scam. It cost me a butt load of scratch and an in person audit for the "offending year" and the next. I think a scam might have cost me less money. I never tried to cheat again though.

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  25. I think I would tell them I am hanging up, calling the sheriff and letting them know right where I am. Thank you very much.

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  26. I wish I would have read this a week ago. Oh well.

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