On March 29th I got a voicemail on my cell phone. It was a pre-recorded message that I owed money to the IRS and that an arrest warrant had been issued in my name. If I wanted to resolve this matter I was to immediately call the number provided. So I called. A gentleman with a foreign accent answered the phone, not by stating the agency name (IRS) but by saying “hello.” I told him that I had received a call and that I didn’t want to be arrested by the IRS for underpaying my taxes. He told me his name and (supposed) badge number, then proceeded to tell me the IRS had audited me for the years 2011 through 2016, and that I had underpaid my federal income taxes by $4,987. Then he asked me if I had ‘intentionally’ underpaid my taxes, or if it was just a calculation error on my part. Of course, I told him I never intentionally underpaid my taxes. In fact, I had a CPA to handle my taxes, and had for years. He said I should never have another person do my taxes because I was responsible, no matter who does them. But no matter, he would withdraw the arrest warrant if I just caught my taxes up. I asked him how I could do that. He said I could show up at the courthouse in Washington, DC and pay it there, or take care of it “outside the courtroom,” without having to go to the Capitol. I asked him if I could handle it with the local IRS office, to which he told me that they didn’t have this information. So it was either go to Washington, or pay him over the phone. Pushing him a little more, I asked, “so your office in DC is the only people who have this information, not the local IRS office?” He told me that was the case. When I started telling him I thought I’d just go down to the local IRS office he hung up on me before I was even able to finish the sentence.
You know, it takes me a long time to make $4,987. And this crook was trying to relieve me of it by some threatening talk of arrest and the promise of a five year sentence. The sad part is that there are many people who are so trusting that they can be duped by unscrupulous people who prey on the fears and lack of information of many citizens.
These were the red flags I noticed when I called the number given; The man I talked to had a foreign accent There was a lot of background noise, like he was in a boiler room setting. The IRS never calls, they send letters. If you need to make a settlement to the IRS, you can make it locally. The IRS would never tell a taxpayer to not hire anyone to complete their tax forms.
While I probably don’t have to say this to anyone reading this story, never volunteer any personal information to anyone on the phone. You may not need to hear this from me, but you probably knows someone who does. Let this be a reminder to you to make them aware that this scam is making its way around the area.