All kinds of Scams are horrible let’s just put that out there. Because most of the time they use fear to take advantage of people in a weak moment. The worst, in my opinion, are IRS scams because let’s be honest no one really wants to mess with the IRS or hear that the IRS is out for them.
Just yesterday I got an IRS scam call from the number (646) 981-0274 and the guy told me his name was “Zach Parker”. He tried to do everything by the book of trying to strike fear into me paying them NOW! He told me I owed back taxes for trying to defraud the IRS, and started quoting the revenue codes that I was in violation of (which obviously no normal person would know). They asked if I had a good tax attorney and then said the authorities were going to come arrest me and take me to jail for a minimum of 90 days as well as freeze all of my assets.
Now stop! I am guessing those comments alone probably scare most people into trying to work with these individuals in order to clear this up before heading off to jail in a squad car that evening.
Now if you are still on the line at this point because you are a little nervous, they will take it to the next level and tell you they will try to talk to their manager and see if they can get some approvals to get this sorted out today. Once they come back on the line, they will tell you they have instructions for you but they need you on your cell phone as you are going to have to run to the bank to get money out (cash in fact) and then they will give you more instructions. Also, they told me this is a conversation/topic that only both of us and his manager should know about.
Wait am I in a James Bond movie, what Government Department is going to tell me to go get cash but keep my phone on me at all times. Also, to not talk to anyone about this as it is a private matter.
Now if you ask about why the cash, they will give you an odd answer but it makes sense once you go out to the government website to report or look into types of scams. They know people are on the look out of giving Credit Card information over the phone among other things.
So at this point, I obviously wasn’t going to go to the bank as I was working and really needed to get some work done. So I did the dreaded thing of hanging up as I walked out of my office to my next meeting. Obviously, when I returned 30 min later I had missed 15 calls but the interesting thing it wasn’t from the same number I originally got called from. They actually took it a step farther….. They masked my local police department number.. Wait what!
I want to make a point about that as that is really scary and sad because you know that would have also scared someone enough into doing what they say. However, they didn’t leave a message the only reason I knew this was because I did a reverse phone look up. Let’s be honest if the Police take the time to call a resident don’t you think they would leave a number to call back at least?
I was kind of ticked at these scammers at this point going to these lengths to scam people that I decided to first call my local police department to let them know. Also, I wanted to make sure that was part of the scam which was confirmed as the Officer said no one had called me or needed me for any reason.
Now at this point, I should have just stopped but was a little curious what would happen if I called back to the original number on a different number. The first time, they answered but hung up when I asked what department of the IRS it was. The second time they didn’t answer and it just kept ringing. Odd right? Wouldn’t you think the IRS would have a messaging service or voice mail or something?
I decided to call back from my original number and someone answered who knew me from the first time or at least my name must have come up. I asked some questions like I didn’t know what they were talking about from the first time but only because I wanted to hang up on them. Then about 30 seconds later, I got the masked call again from my local Police department, no greeting or anything but saying they have been trying to get a hold of me for a half hour since a fax came over. They wanted to know my address so they could send an officer to pick me up right away. I asked for the person name and he said his name was Mary Ellis. If you picked up on the fact I was addressing Mary as a he, it was because the person on the phone was trying to sound like a girl but was more than likely the exact same person I was just talking to. In fact, I could hear the same background noise of people talking about Taxes where I am guessing “Zach’s” friends were trying to scam someone else. I told him, who was acting as the local authorities, it was interesting that they had been trying to get a hold of me for the past 30 min as I had just talked to my local authorities who knew nothing about needing me. At that point, the person hung up, scam over.
During and after everything was done I obviously reported the number and any important information to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). It sounds like these scams are increasing as of lately for an unknown reason but remember most of the “scam” points I was noting above are noted on the IRS websites of things to look out for. Here is another government site with a nice Infographic on IRS Imposter Scams. Finally, I have included a good video below talking about IRS Imposter Scams.
Just be careful out there as the people on the other line try to make it sound legit. I hope it doesn’t and hasn’t happened to any of you. However, if it has leave a comment below as I would enjoy hearing how it went for you and if your experience was similar to my story.