‘IRS’ scam and what to do about it

By Catherine Haug, Sept 28, 2016; Updated Mar 18, 2017

I’ve now gotten two of those calls, and it is likely that everyone – especially senior citizens – will get at least one of them. Normally I don’t pick up the phone unless I recognize the number. The first one  (9/28/2016) was a 509 area code, which is just across the Columbia River from where I lived in Portland, and is where many of my former coworkers with whom I exchange Christmas cards, live. So I picked it up.

On the other end of the line was a recorded message that went something like this:

This is (male name), an IRS officer. Did you know there is a legal petition filed against you? Call me back immediately at 509-983-0040.

The second call (3/17/17) was with a female voice, but did not give a name. She said:

an arrest warrant has been issued. Call me back immediately at 907-891-8644.

If you get one of these calls, DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER. Note, there are many different scam numbers they use.

When I got the first call, my first thought was, “I wonder if this is that IRS scam I’ve heard about on the news?” So I googled the number, and got this: Scam Call Fighters (1), where it says:

The IRS will never call anyone “out of the blue;” (they) will send notices …. through the U.S. postal system of any taxes due, and will never ask for credit, debit or prepaid card details by any form of communication

The message is left by automated dialers set up by scammers in India & other foreign locations. The computers are programmed to call thousands of numbers everyday, to leave these threatening messages.

This is what I thought; the call is a federal crime. So I called the Flathead County Sheriff’s non-emergency number (406 758-5585) to find out what to do; after a bit of a hold, Igot good information, as follows (see also Scam Call Fighters (1)):

Report the call to:

  • US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or 202-927-7018; or
  • tigta.gov (2), and click on the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” box near the upper-right corner of the page (3). There you can record information about the call, and report if they scammed you out of any money. Note that https://tigta.gov (2) is a secure website, meaning it is difficult for someone to hack (the link begins with’ https://’ which indicates a secure site).

If you are threatened on the call, call your local police or sheriff’s office. When I got the second call (March 2017), I also notified the Flathead Co. Sheriff’s department because of the claim that an arrest warrant had been issued. The sheriff’s dispatcher said that the scammers are getting more personal, sometimes threatening harm. I was advised if that happens, to call 911 and an officer will come to my home.

References

  1. scamcallfighters.com/scam-call-5099830040-SCAM-CALL-509-983-0040-play-acting-as-the-IRS-Tax-Scam-51004.html 
  2. treasury.gov/tigta or https://tigta.gov
  3. treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

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