This is the number he called from. I'm sure he uses several phony ones.
John and I have had what seems like a zillion messages left on our answering machine that go something like this:
"This is an agent of the Internal Revenue Service. Please contact us immediately regarding your income tax fraud charges. You MUST call this number to avoid going to prison."
The voice is male and has some kind of accent.
"This is an extremely urgent matter. You will have serious consequences if you do not return this call! We will help you avoid going to jail."
Ah. Riiiiiiight. I'll just bet he's here to help me. He'd really like to help himself to a big chunk of OUR money. What a crook.
I'd ignore this obvious scam message if it was left once on our machine, but SIX? TEN times? The guy is relentless and with each message his message becomes more ominous and threatening. I call our local police department on their non-urgent number, describe the messages, and ask what to do. A woman sympathetically tells me that she is aware of several folks in our area receiving the same kind of telephone calls. Unfortunately, she says, schemes such as this one are almost impossible to persue but suggests that I visit this IRS website to learn more about this prevalent phone scam:
WASHINGTON — Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain near the top of the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2015 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.
The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.
"If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you don't pay immediately, it's a scam artist calling,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "The first IRS contact with taxpayers is usually through the mail. Taxpayers have rights, and this is not how we do business."
The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so. This year for the first time, the IRS will issue the individual Dirty Dozen scams one at a time during the next 12 business days to raise consumer awareness.
Phone scams top the list this year because it has been a persistent and pervasive problem for many taxpayers for many months. Scammers are able to alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. They often leave "urgent" callback requests. They prey on the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly, newly arrived immigrants and those whose first language is not English. Scammers have been known to impersonate agents from IRS Criminal Investigation as well.
“These criminals try to scare and shock you into providing personal financial information on the spot while you are off guard,” Koskinen said. “Don’t be taken in and don’t engage these people over the phone.”
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of roughly 290,000 contacts since October 2013 and has become aware of nearly 3,000 victims who have collectively paid over $14 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials and demanding that they send them cash via prepaid debit cards. Continue reading here.