Tuesday, September 1, 2015

IRS Scam

He got home before I did, so he answered the phone.  I was not sure why he picked up an unknown-to-us number.  His explanation was simple - by the time he got to the phone, the message machine was recording An URGENT message from the IRS.

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:

Complaints Complaints about 509-492-3558

Caller Type: Scammer/Fraudster (2 Reports)
Reported Name: Just Said Pasco (1 Reports)
Number of Complaints: 4
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.

"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.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I'm sending to family and friends. This can be scary, but as I've dealt with the IRS, one would get certified letters before even a phone call (if you even get a phone call). It took almost a year to get something fixed with the IRS and that was after sending the required documentation numerous times via FedEx. They are so woefully understaffed.

    Thanks, again, for posting.

    Megan xxx

    1. Thanks for sharing. We've dealt with them too, but this caught him unawares....

  2. We regularly get calls like it and always hang up. i usually say, you can email or write us. I won't respond to the phone-- click. The last one though was funny-- about our bank account. In the background I heard popular music playing and she spoke with a thick accent. Laughing, i said you have to be kidding before I hung up. Never respond to any phone call like that. And a legitimate source will give you a phone number of the agency where you can call them back.That's what the bank did when they were asking if we had just purchased jewelry in Italy. You can check the number you were giving before calling them back.

    1. He was caught up in the moment.... being on top of the $$ is important to him and he didn't stop to think. We, too, usually hang up, although sometimes I have fun engaging them in snarky conversation.

  3. I've been getting emails saying there is a problem with my Apple account and/or my PayPal account. Delete. So many people trying to take advantage.

    1. At least we are able to identify it as a scam. I shudder to think what G'ma would have done.

  4. I've been getting the call (on my cell phone!) from IT support. They want to log on to my laptop and "fix" it. They're very affronted when I call them scammers and hang up on them.


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