The Perfect Scampodcast profiles America's biggest scams through personal stories of scam victims and their families as well as interviews with professional con artists and leading experts on scams and fraud. Hear about how these scams happen and how to avoid them from those who know best.
In this episode, we learn about the behind-the-scenes information on the IRS phone scam bust. Listenhereand let us know what you think.
Have you had experience with this scam? Share your story and any tips you have with us.
Yes, I have had contact with scammers pretending to be the IRS. I have received several phones calls from these kind of scammers over the years. Generally, I do not answer my home phone (a landline) which is connected to an answering machine. So I've never actually spoken to any of these deadbeat scammers, but they always leave a message and the message is pretty much the same each time. Most of the calls are generic in content. But the one thing that always is the same is that the caller has a very strong foreign accent like from India or the Middle East. Here's how the call generally goes:
"This is the IRS. We are calling you to inform you that you owe the government a debt. If you do not pay this outstanding tax debt, you will be taken to court, charged with a crime, and an agent will be out to your home to arrest you."
Then they leave a odd sounding telephone number (usually NOT an 800 number) with a warning to be sure to call back under threat of further penalties and ultimately arrest. Of course as I said before, I've never called these guys back and to my surprise (NOT), I've never been hauled into court or arrested.
Now, maybe to some people, a call like this would throw them into a panic fearing that at any moment the "government" or the IRS is actually going to send an agent to their house and either collect some money from them or arrest them. And this is what these scallywags are counting on--the victim's fear. And of course seniors are often the most vunerable.
SO HERE'S SOME TIPS:
1. If these scammers call and leave you a message, DO NOT RETURN THEIR CALL! The IRS does NOT call people out of the blue. If they were to contact you, it would be by mail initially and would only conduct phone conversations after you have so agreed to communicate that way and YOU have given them your phone number.
2. If you happen to answer a call and find yourself on the line with these folks, DO NOT give them ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION. NONE!!!!! They may ask you to "verify" your social security number or your birth date, your bank information, source of income, etc. DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM. If this really was the IRS, they would have your personal information already. It's NOT the IRS. It's just the scammers way of phishing (fishing) for information that they could use later maybe for identity theft purposes.
3. Your best bet is to NOT engage in any conversation with them at all. Just HANG UP!
4. If the scammers persist or call back, get their phone number and tell them that you will have your attorney and/or accountant get back with them on the matter. Watch and see how fast they will hang up on YOU!!!
5. If all else fails, after you have ended the call, you can at your leisure make a call to IRS at their 800 number and inquire as to whether or not their is a problem and/or to report the scammers as well.
Hopefully, this post will be of help to other seniors out there and will put them at ease if this ever happens to them.