I’ve recently had to field my fifth and sixth final warnings from diligent and eager “IRS customer service agents” who are “bring lawsuit against you [me]” on my cell phone.
The phone calls are never live, because that would be illegal, to, y’know, falsely represent a federal agent.
The calls are usually after IRS business hours, so when I call them back, if a person doesn’t answer the phone, the calls are actually answered by a real IRS field office which doesn’t take calls and instructs you to call back during normal business hours. Somehow, the criminals are co-opting the real phone numbers of these offices.
Other times, if you call back and you get a person who alleges to be an IRS agent with a badge number and who gives a legitimate field office address and so if you check it on your computer at the same time you’re interacting with these people, the data is compelling, it can FEEL legitimate. It’s not.
Here’s the truth: they’re not legit. They’re criminals and thugs, wearing headsets and are only trying to steal from you.
My post here is skimming on many of the facts of these situations. I won’t purport to know all the reasons and ways the IRS will interact with a taxpayer.
News of these scams are rampant. One man in North Carolina, a minister, paid off these people with PREPAID DEBIT CARDS to the tune of $16,000 — that’s money he’ll NEVER see again…
So here are some (of many — too many to list) truths about this situation:
- The actual IRS will announce an audit (not a lawsuit) over registered and certified mail, to your residence, or the last known residence listed on your most recent tax return.
- The scammers called my son’s cell phone. He’s 17. He doesn’t have a job, never has. He doesn’t file taxes.
- The scammers don’t know who they’re talking to… that’s a tip-off.
- The scammers don’t know your name. Don’t give it to them. It’s fun though, to give them a false one and let them follow a trail…
- The scammers don’t know your street address, don’t give it to them. Keep the charade going: give them a fake one.
If you make the scammers verify everything — it will be a very short call. But they’ll dance around it.
The scammers will say you’re under investigation for a very old tax return year, say, 2008. The IRS can’t audit you beyond two years’ worth of tax returns (so for FY 2015, they can’t go to years prior to 2013 — often these scammers will say you’re being sued on 2010 or older return — don’t believe it — it’s not real). They like to say the lawsuit (never an audit) is going far back to throw you off.
Will the scammer be articulate and persistent? Yes. They will keep saying the same thing — fast and confidently– and it will sound official and feel convincing. But here’s the truth: don’t call for it… call the IRS in the morning and have a rational conversation with an agent.
Better yet, don’t answer the call. Let it go to voicemail and then call an IRS office in the morning. The IRS also has a toll-free number: (800) 829-1040.
If after the audit, to which you are a party, and the IRS does deem some further action is in order, you will know about it well in advance and trust me, it won’t be handled over your cell phone.
A tip-off: these thugs threaten you with incarceration. The police aren’t coming to get you. These people don’t even know who you are, remember that. If you are on the phone with these clowns, ask them to give you your street address. They can’t. Because they’re on a Skype or other pirated line which can’t be traced, and they don’t know where you’re calling from. Don’t give it to them.
The Motley Fool wrote about this last April — http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/taxes/2015/04/15/beware-irs-phone-number-scams.aspx
The IRS placed phone scams as No. 1 on its dirty dozen tax scams list this year, up from No. 2 last year, when it received more than 90,000 complaints about such calls. It’s a quickly growing problem, as phone scams didn’t even make the top 12 list in 2013. –The Motley Fool
Here are other news stories / resources:
To get more official phone numbers:
But if you’re like me, and you like to really mess with these people on a slow night, and brush up your improv skills, do what I did last week:
Ai luyke to make pretend i am Oksana Brataslavich from Tsovkra – a tiny willage in Russia; home of many tightrope walkers of good repute, and thet ai am winning IRS lawsuit? HOW MUCH? HOW MUCH I WIN FOR? SUCH GREAT NEWS! THIS FUNDINGS OF AMERICAN DOLLARS WILL HELP WITH getting new carborator on tractor… and ai go on and on and on about how my mother needs new leg and thet my children, Boris, that lazy boy who is 6 now, can’t pull plow because of whooping cough he got from old man he spent weekend with…. they hang up.
They’re out there, these assholes. Might as well screw with them if you have the inclination. My two sons and husband called them back — from four mobile phones — one night so much they didn’t answer for an hour. Then when they did pick up, they apologized for our wait saying they were dealing with prank callers. And we started in again. Yuk yuk yuk….