An IRS impersonator just called me

Customer Support liarHere’s the voicemail he left me (in a rather heavy Indian accent):

“I am Jonathan Knight and I am calling you from the federal investigation department of IRS. My badge number is 46719. The matter at the hand is extremely time sensitive and urgent as after audit we found that there was a fraud and misconduct on your taxes which you are hiding from the federal government. This needs to be rectified immediately so do return the call as soon as you receive the message on my direct line number. And this is Jonathan Knight again federal investigation department of IRS.”

I was really rather bummed that I’d let this particular gem go to voice mail. Oh, the fun I could have had with this idiot! Here’s me, pretending to be all scared and upset…drawing him in, getting him all excited about the money he was going to scam from me…and then Boom! Telling him exactly what I thought of his morals, his conduct, his parentage and what bug he’ll be incarnated into the next go-round.

I did call the number back and got a different gentleman with an Indian accent on the line (with the noise of a call center in the background). He called himself “Chief Ray Parker” and told me that “complete audits” of my tax returns from 2002 to 2012 had turned up “errors and miscalculations” and that the government was going to the courthouse to file a lawsuit against me within two hours. When he demanded to know if I had a lawyer and I said yes, though, he didn’t seem to know what to say next, and hung up on me. So I didn’t get to unleash at all.

The IRS says this a pervasive, aggressive scam that’s hitting taxpayers all over the country. The scammers alter their caller ID to make it look like it’s coming from a Washington D.C. number and may know a lot about the people they’re calling. Unfortunately, too many people take the bait and give up sensitive personal information or even money to these scoundrels.

Just as a refresher: the IRS typically contacts taxpayers by letter, not by phone, particularly if an audit is involved. If the IRS thinks you owe money, it will let you know and give you some time to make payment arrangements. Oh, and by the way, the IRS is one of the few creditors that doesn’t need to go to court to get a wage garnishment.

If you get one of these calls, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at www.tigta.gov. Even if you don’t, tell your parents and grandparents about this since older people may be more vulnerable to these kinds of scams.

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