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.