More and more American taxpayers have become aware of tax scams and various methods that criminals use to steal money from people. The IRS itself, together with many tax resolution companies, put a lot of effort into increasing public understanding of the legal approach to tax collection, which helps them to recognize tax scammers.
A wonderful example of a taxpayer’s vigilance was presented recently by TheBlaze.com in their article “Watch: Woman Gives IRS Scammers a ‘Taste of Their Own Medicine’ “, which includes a video record of the taxpayer’s phone conversation with the tax crime representatives. For those who have not seen that video, we highly recommend you do so.
Ms. Rachel Fitzsimmons, a young lady from Denver, Colorado, received a couple of automated voice messages from someone who claimed to be from the IRS. The return phone numbers had area codes of Seattle and Washington, D.C. The messages contained information about a so-called lawsuit that has been filed against the receiver of that call, whose name wasn’t specified in the message, and a request for an immediate call back at 206-973-3241.
Fortunately, Rachel was aware that these phone calls are not one of the IRS’ methods to collect unpaid taxes. However, she wanted to return the call and record her conversation to help other people recognize tax scams. The phone rang, and a man with a thick accent picked up the phone. The fact that the IRS employee has a foreign accent is not unusual. However, there was something about it that did not sound right from the beginning. It was clear that the man on a phone had difficulty understanding English, which is not typical for IRS staff.
Another hint was that one of the very first questions the so-called IRS guy asked was “Do you know how much you owe money to IRS?” When Rachel said that she had no idea, the guy replied, “OK. You got a call? You got a voicemail?” This time Rachel decided to tell him that she believes the voice message she received mentioned a tax debt of one thousand dollars. She got permission from the scammer to make a credit card payment over the phone, and during all this time the criminal did not even know her name or Social Security Number, and was not trying to pretend that he was accessing Rachel’s electronic file in the IRS computer system to check the status of her case – something an IRS employee would have done.
Probably because it was so hard for the tax scammer to understand English, he said that it was necessary to transfer this call to his supervisor. According to him, that was the way Rachel could make a payment over the phone. The “supervisor” also had a similar accent, but, fortunately, spoke English slightly better. He stated that his name was David Miller, and provided a fake IRS badge number and his phone extension.
Rachel wanted to know why she did not get anything from the IRS via mail, but was told that the reason why she owes $1,000 is because she made a mistake on her tax return. The scammer could not explain why the IRS did not send anything in mail. Instead, he provided Rachel with two options; she either pays taxes over the phone today, or the IRS will issue a warrant and take her into custody. That was too much, and Rachel decided to fight back. She said that she actually works for the IRS, and asked if the scammers realize that they are taking the money from innocent people. Unfortunately, the tax criminals did not want a lesson about moral values, and hung up.
Rachel decided to share her video with all American taxpayers with a hope that it will help some people.