I got caught napping today. Tax fraud napping.
There I was, climbing back into bed this morning with the remnants of a nasty cold, hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before picking my daughter up from school so I could be as recovered as possible for work the rest of the week, when suddenly1 I made a huge mistake. I looked at my iPhone screen.
“Hmm, that’s odd,” I thought, staring at the badge on the phone icon. “I didn’t hear the phone ring.” You know what I did next, don’t you? I did. I tapped the phone icon, and then I had no choice but to listen to the voicemail, which went something2 like this:
Hi. I’m calling you from the legal affairs at the US Department of Treasury, that is, Internal Revenue Service.
We were trying to reach you in regards to a very important issue since past months and months.
We have a legal affidavit concerning the tax fraud on your name. The hotline division to reach us at is area code 202, 759-9426. I repeat, it’s 202-759-9426.
Don’t disregard this message, and do return the call. If for any reason, you are busy to call us back, we would suggest to have you retain an attorney to do it for you as delay in calling us back might develop into a legal mess for you.
Further, we will be forced to contact the legal authorities and release this case against your name. The hope is to define this matter as quick as possible. Thank you.
At least, I think that’s what she said. Some of it was pretty hard to understand through her Indian accent and the poor call quality. But everything except possibly two or three words is verbatim.
Googling the number immediately turned up other people who have been contacted through the same phone number, as well as the scam warning on the Treasury Department’s web site about this exact type of fraudulent activity.
The bottom line is, the IRS won’t contact you over the phone saying they’ve been trying to reach you for months, and that you need to call back immediately or the local authorities will be coming to visit. They’ll send you mail. Or maybe black helicopters, who knows. But not phone calls with dubious grammar and insistence that you’re about to be arrested unless you comply immediately. So don’t be fooled; the number of people being called by the fine, upstanding individuals trying to pull this scam is apparently increasing.
I can’t wait to see if they call me back, I have the ability and desire to waste a lot of their time entertaining myself. They deserve it: they spoiled what I was hoping was going to be a really wonderful and well-deserved nap.