Today I got a call from a California area code; an unfamiliar number and for some reason still picked it up. A very robotic voice began to tell me that an IRS officer (Nicky Johnson) needed me or my attorney to call her office at 415-413-3497. Right away, I knew something was up because my accountant has the power to handle any matters relating the IRS and it doesn’t matter anyway because the IRS would have sent a letter and not called anyway. I was obviously a target of a phone scam.
Phone scammers are a dime a dozen these days, but what made me angry about this one was that they were using the fear (already established by tyrannical tactics) to prey on unsuspecting victims. So, this becomes a problem on several levels. I can only imagine how many people fall for stuff like this.
Imagine for a second that IRS calls you and basically says they are going to ruin your life unless you get them $XXXX.XX by the end of the day or week or whatever the scam is. Most people would blindly pay it thinking they could not afford the issues they have heard about so many times when it comes to dealing with the IRS.
Well, these scammers messed with the wrong guy I suppose. I engaged in conversation. Nicky Johnson turned out be either Pakistani or Indian and very male… and he didn’t know much about the IRS or tax law. This opened the door to all kinds of fun for me. I eventually asked for his numbers, his supervisor, his district, his region, his belt size, etc. Then they hung up on me. But I called back again and again and had more fun. And this went on for hours. But evidently, these scammers didn’t find it so funny because they ended up blocking my phone number… and the next several numbers I used (thanks Google Voice).
Upon doing some research (after the conversation), I discovered that they are using a few numbers. The numbers provided in the voice-mail is either 415-413-3497, 209-676-8870 or 410-793-7581 (I am sure there are more). These have been checked and were found to be linked to recent phishing scams (obviously). Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.
DON’T BE A VICTIM! The IRS will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. They NEVER ask for credit or debit card information over the phone. They are also not all from a foreign nation… yet.
If you have been affected, you can contact your local or state AG office or Police Department. For more information visit: www.IRS.gov and search the keyword “scam”. Or… simply do some search engine research before buying into the sometimes believable scams. Keep in mind that sometimes they might acquire some very personal information.
All that being said… if you want to have some fun… you can blow these guys up! Just call the numbers and mess with them. Just don’t be stupid and give them money.
Here is an example of the call and what some others are doing to play.