I know these people call your house, as they do mine, several times a day. Sometimes the calls are in the morning, but most are between 4 and 7 p.m. They say that they want to help you with your credit record or that you owe the Internal Revenue money. Now, this last one is a well-known scam and many people have received this call.
Usually, when I get the IRS call, it is a recording by someone who sounds American. They’re telling me to call back using a certain number to get my payment in before I get arrested. Even though it’s a recording, I usually say a few choice words to them about how they interrupted me from what I was doing … how I walked all the way to the phone from the far end of my house to answer this and then it’s only these people running a scam. If they could hear me, they would know I’m not happy.
This week, my call came in the morning about 10 a.m. and I decided to play along with the whole thing since, for once, it was a live person calling. The accent was heavy. It sounded East Indian and the person was very difficult to understand. But I got the IRS part and that if I wanted help with the fact that I owe the IRS money, I could press one and speak with an on-site attorney. That’s what I needed, some attorney from India to help me with a phony American IRS problem.
But I went along with it. After touching one on my phone, the person who answered was a man with an even thicker Indian accent than the first guy. He asked me my name and I gave it to him. What the heck, he must have known it since he called me. Then I asked him his name. There was silence and then some garbled name I couldn’t understand and a long badge number. Did he forget he was supposed to be an attorney and not an IRS agent? After that, I asked where he was located. I figured he was in India or that region of the world, but he said he was in Washington D.C. and gave me a ZIP Code – like that was going to make him legitimate.
The guy was clearly reading from a script and it was so difficult to understand what he was telling me. I gathered the IRS had filed suit against me and then some other garbled something. Sounding concerned, I asked what I should do about this? He couldn’t answer me right away, as if he needed a translator. I believe he wasn’t sure what I said to him, so he went back to the script. He said someone would be coming to my house and taking me away in handcuffs. Guess I was supposed to be scarred by that.
Still playing along, I asked how much I owed and where did I pay? The answer was that I owed $6,950 for 2013.
He continued to explain that taxes were audited and were in arrears. Believe me those were hard words for him to get out, and I asked again how I pay this. There were more long silences, and then I could hear other people talking in the background.
When I asked a third time how to pay, (wanting to get the full feel of the scam) he kept saying this is an informational call. I wanted to find out where and how to send the money. I believe it is usually supposed to be wired. Another long silence and then some garbled English. I told him I was having trouble understanding him and he suddenly hung up. What a waste of time for him and me. So just as I was about to get the full spiel, it was over.
I can’t tell you how many of these calls I get, and everyone I know gets them even on their cell phones. When a scam call appears on a cell phone, you wonder how they got the number, and when the caller ID shows, it is often a 937 area code. So you think it’s someone you know and you should answer it. Then it turns out they have just probably stolen it from somewhere.
I heard about a couple who were receiving scam calls and the caller ID showed their own cell number calling them. Now that’s really weird.
The crooks must be getting some money from some people who must not realize that it is just a scam. I’ve been told the IRS will never call you. If there’s a problem, they will send you a letter. Don’t get caught by these sleazebags!
(Melanie Behrens – firstname.lastname@example.org)
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