I should have known it was a scam when the IRS agent called from a blocked number, but when he told me that I had defrauded the IRS and the government was taking legal action within the day, I couldn’t help but panic. Within the next hour, the “IRS agent” said, there would be a warrant for my arrest if I didn’t pay what was owed.
Asking how much money I owed, he stated, was a total of $7,900. Like I said before, all of the red flags should have come up. He asked me if I had been of any previous tax fraud case, if there were any lawsuits against me, and offered to put me through to the chief investigator to work something out.
Usually, the IRS will audit you first if the expect you are a tax cheat, not call you with threats and ask for wire transfers. Here’s the scam in a nutshell:
When I asked the agent if I could call him through the IRS’ 1-800 number, he balked. “How would you even find me using the IRS 1-800 number? This is my direct line. You’ll find out when you’re arrested in a hour.”
Why I want to tell my story, though, is that some might have fallen for this. Like I said, I should have seen all of the red flags, but when you have someone threatening you with some very real sounding consequences on the other line, it’s hard to think straight.
I have an app that I use for my iPhone called TrapCall, which shows me the restricted number on Caller ID. Because TrapCall can deconstruct the blocked number and relay it back to me, I knew that the number calling me was 202-506-9166, and not a 1-800 number.
Once my would-be scammer hung up on me, I immediately took the number and did some research. It turns out there is an IRS scam, and it has affected thousands of people. The IRS even has a number that you can call to confirm if the number is part of scam.
What I would love to see is for no one to have to deal with blocked numbers from scammers – as there are so many other ways to get hurt besides for IRS scams. I’m happy that I had TrapCall so that I could confirm that the caller was actually doing a scam.
I recommend TrapCall to all of my friends and family since it can really protect you from anyone who is trying to steal from you or take advantage of you – it allows me to also blacklist any numbers that I don’t want to call my phone.
Here’s hoping that we’ll never have to deal with blocked calls again.