Scams, Suckers, More Scams And How To Spot Them

We have all received the emails from the concerned African prince that wants to wire us millions of dollars if we give him our account information.  Hopefully everyone knows that it’s a scam.  As the old adage goes if it’s too good to be true.  Well I was away for a few days at a conference and when I returned I had this very ominous voicemail at my office.

Here is the exact transcript:

“Hi, This is an automated voice message left for you by the Internal Revenue Service.  Please call us back at the very first hearing of this message as the issue is very serious.  There has been a lawsuit filed against you by IRS offices so before the things go worse against you call us back on our hotline division which is 703-822-4917.  I repeat 703-822-4917.  Don’t disregard this message and do return the call.  Remember delay in calling us back or any other discrepancy will lead this matter in a legal persecution of your name so we hope you will resolve this matter as soon as possible.  Thank you.”

So after I had a good laugh at legal persecution I thought about how scary that message could sound to lots of people who don’t deal with the IRS or taxes regularly.  Just FYI it’s a scam.

So how did I know it was a scam:

  1. The IRS does not call you if you have a tax issue.They will contact you by mail first.
  2. The IRS as scary as they are will not threaten you like the voicemail indicated.The IRS does not deport people, take away their drivers license or any of the other threats I have heard voicemails like this make.
  3. The IRS won’t demand that you make any payments immediately
  4. The IRS won’t ask you to wire money, pay by a prepaid credit card, money order or ask you to give your credit card information over the phone.

So what should you do if you receive one of these “scary” voicemails threatening to legally persecute you:

Write down the phone number and report it to the FTC  and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

If I’d been concerned that maybe I owed money to the IRS, I knew that I could check with the IRS directly by calling 1-800-829-1040.

Remember that the identity thieves are getting more and more creative in how they target people.  Never give out your information out to anyone that you are not sure about.  Remember banks and credit card companies will never call you and ask you for your card information or social security numbers.  The IRS will never call you about money you owe or legal matters.  Finally no foreign governments or lotteries are going to ever send you money so protect your information.

Protect your identity it is the only one you get.