He doesn't like urgent messages from governmental agencies, so he picked up the receiver and the berating began.
Was he trying to defraud the government? Was he purposely misrepresenting his income? He had broken several laws and violated the code. A law suit has been filed. His accounts were to be frozen. A lien was being placed on his car. The sheriff and an IRS agent were on their way to our front door, with the intention of taking my husband to jail.
Apparently, he owed $3,946.
Our taxes are done by the accountant we've known and loved since 1980. He's scrupulous. He's honest. He's thoughtful. He doesn't make mistakes. When we were audited in the late 1980's he was furious; he fought the audit for years. His response to their questioning was that he had not deducted enough. He was not in the wrong. The IRS was.
We ended up with the IRS writing us a check for $7000.
This is not the kind of man to make an account freezing, car lien imposing, lawsuit engendering mistake. But the woman on the other end of the line was persistent and insistent and, by the time I finished my errands and found him on the phone, TBG was irate.
"Why didn't I receive anything in writing?" "What do you mean you don't have the time to resend all the paperwork?" "What parts of the law have I broken?"
The answers were garbled; his interlocutor did not have a fluent command of the English language. However, she was able to threaten effectively, which seemed to be her default mode when his questions hit close to home. She kept reminding him that the sheriff and the agent were on their way to our home.
I began mouthing SCAM... he started breathing more normally. He went back and forth with her a few more times, demanding a physical representation of the error of his ways. She was truculent and obstinate - my husband was on his way to jail unless he paid up.
It's an interesting scam - just enough money to hurt, but not too much to pay to keep yourself out of the pokey. He was "willing to pay whatever I must in order to resolve this, but I need some documentation first."
She couldn't provide it. He hung up the phone.
I took the phone number and googled it. NumberInvestigator was very clear:
One of those complaints is ours. I didn't give them my name; I called us Anonymous Tucsonan. I described the scam and submitted it. Then I went to the Department of the Treasury and the IRS websites and did the same thing, while TBG called the accountant who recognized the scam before half the story was told.
Complaints about 509-492-3558Caller Type: Scammer/Fraudster (2 Reports)
Reported Name: Just Said Pasco (1 Reports)
Number of Complaints: 4
"Forget about it," he said. So, we did. But I am posting the story so that you are not frightened the way we were.
As they remind you on the IRS website, the IRS will never call or email you if there is a problem. You will never be asked to return a call immediately. All communication is by snail mail.
Keep that in mind if your phone rings and someone tries to tell you that arrest is imminent unless you give them a credit card number right this minute.