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I got an urgent voicemail from somebody claiming to be with the IRS and that they had an arrest warrant for me. I remembered this post from Marion Police on the topic:
Nonetheless, I was in a mood to call them back, so I did.
Somebody, in broken English, answered and said they were Officer Dan Smith (or something of that sort) with the criminal division of the Internal Revenue Service.
“I’m outside your office to pay my fine,” I jumped in.
“What? This is the criminal division.’
“I know. You called and I’m outside to pay my fine. Can you let me in.”
“What? What’s your name.”
They have caller id, by the way, and already had my name!
“Can you tell me what the crime is and code section,” I proceeded.
“The crime is that you talked to your mom.”
“And what’s the penalty for that?”
“You’ll have to talk to her.”
They then hung up on me. No wonder people don’t call their moms enough if it’s now a crime. LOL.
Seriously, I think I get more spam phone calls than spam emails. I blocked the number, but still wanted to share this here. Don’t ever give out your personal information on the phone. Don’t wire money! It’s so easy to do, I know.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
- Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
I can see how this scam is easy to fall victim to. I knew it was a scam, but nonethless it felt strange and maybe even wrong to call back in that manner. What if it’s real afterall? I also went to the Treasury Department website and looked to report the call.
But I had to give a bunch of personal information there:
And got spooked by this:
What’s a guy to do? Don’t ever give out personal information, I suppose is the answer.
Anyway, do people fall victim? According to the IRS in 2017, federal officials know of “over 10,000 victims who have collectively paid over $54 million as a result of phone scams since October 2013.” So an average of $5,400 each! Whoa. So that’s why it sounds like I was calling a call center? I heard other “officers” in the background.
It’s likely a numbers game: The more people they call, the more likely they are to find a victim. Don’t become a statistic. And if you end up calling back, let me know here what they told you your crime was.