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Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:47 am
by grixit
New scam, same indian accent. Caller claims to be from the IRS, even gives supposed badge number. Says you owe big and must pay now, so what's your credit card number? Sometimes another one calls later says they're DMV and have instructions from the IRS to suspend your driver's license. Sometimes the followup caller claims to be from the local police and says the IRS has sent them a warrant.

I wonder if any freedom loving tax rebels have gotten this one yet. It's perfect for them: proof that the IRS is a dominant force, not just a bunch of bureaucrats charged with implementing acts of Congress, and then, when nothing happens to them after they recite their incantations, proof that you can indeed send the Big Bad Wolf away!

Wish i could get a recording of such an interaction.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:30 am
by fortinbras
Oddly enough I got an email a couple of weeks ago - said something like "We at the IRS have been trying to call you. You owe unpaid taxes to the IRS. Please call [202-area code phone number] immediately." I checked out the phone number on the internet - it was a non-govt number which evidently has been much used with various boiler-room solicitations. Oddly, the email never spelled out the name of the agency, only the initials (I'll bet the crooks thought that little detail would save them from being prosecuted for impersonating a federal officer). Didn't use my name either.

Probably the spam version of cold calling. I wonder how many people fall for that.

Oh and a new con tonight! An email (also without using my name) pretending to be from the "accounting department" of my email service (which they also neglected to name) suggesting that I am running out of space and must pay extra right now by clicking on a link or else I won't be able to receive any more messages (I wish!). An important little fact: The supposed source email address given in the body of a message is NOT necessarily the true one, and clicking on the Reply feature of your email system will show the real email address - which in this case was not any email service domain but just "accountdept.com".

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:48 am
by Burnaby49
Our Canada Revenue Agency phishing scammers are far more generous than your American scum. They don't threaten that we owe money and have to give them a credit card number NOW. Instead they claim that they owe us money and will pay us if we'll just provide the necessary banking information. Much less hostile than you brash Americans. As an example my wife and I each got the following message a few days ago. Sadly I somehow lost track and failed to reply before the deadline ran out. I didn't even know that tax refunds had deadlines. I spent my entire career in the CRA and missed missed a simple fact like that!

Dear Taxpayer

Canada Revenue Agency has sent you an INTERAC e-Transfer
(previously INTERAC Email Money Transfer)

Amount $634.52 CAD
Sender's Message - A message was not provided
Expiry Date - 03 November 2014

Action required;
To deposit your money click here;
(an internet link I wasn't touching)

2014 Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Support

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:17 pm
by Arthur Rubin
fortinbras wrote:An important little fact: The supposed source email address given in the body of a message is NOT necessarily the true one, and clicking on the Reply feature of your email system will show the real email address - which in this case was not any email service domain but just "accountdept.com".
Not necessarily. The "From" and "Reply-to" fields can be spoofed, even in Outlook. "Sender" requires more work, but can be spoofed in any Unix-like mailer, although it may require root access for the "standard" mailer.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:47 pm
by Duke2Earl
If there is anything regular posters should have learned in here by now is that there is simply no limit to stupidity and greed. Anyone who falls for this scam almost(but not quite) deserves it.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:19 pm
by The Observer
Duke2Earl wrote:If there is anything regular posters should have learned in here by now is that there is simply no limit to stupidity and greed. Anyone who falls for this scam almost(but not quite) deserves it.


Given the fact that the majority of the people targeted in these schemes and fall for it are immigrants, people whose second language is English, poor and/or elderly, your comment seems to be insensitive to those people and their situation. These are truly victims, since their interaction with the IRS has been minimal up to this point and they certainly have no background on how a IRS collection action would actually proceed. They have a natural fear of being in trouble with the government and are going to knee-jerk to anything that might faintly resemble potential government intervention - especially if they came from a country where their experiences would tend to akin to what the phone calls are threatening to do.

These people were not responding to some invitation to participate in a get-rich quick scheme but a threat against their livelihoods and meager assets. Yes, in a perfect world, it would be nice if everyone could be 100% alert, but we all don't come equally equipped. I wonder how you would feel if you reach the age of where your mental facilities are diminished to the point that a phone call might be the one thing to get to you react and forward money out of fear or intimidation, only to hear someone younger saying, "Well, it is really almost your fault for being so stupid."

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 5:54 pm
by Judge Roy Bean
Individuals are not the only victims in these phishing expeditions. People who are behind corporate firewalls are being sent very authentic-looking emails with links to familiar sites that turn out to be vidually identical to the expected ones. The bogus site asks for the login/password and sure enough, they get it. Then the perpetrators have that information to access the real web site with that person's/company's credentials.

There is no limit to criminal ingenuity.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:50 pm
by Arthur Rubin
This isn't a Tax Protestor scheme, although I suppose it is tax fraud. Moving to the "Tax Practice" area.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:43 am
by fortinbras
Well, it's a sort of fraud that mentions taxes, but it's not really a fraud upon the IRS. I would have left this at its original category.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:45 pm
by Duke2Earl
The Observer wrote:
Given the fact that the majority of the people targeted in these schemes and fall for it are immigrants, people whose second language is English, poor and/or elderly, your comment seems to be insensitive to those people and their situation. These are truly victims, since their interaction with the IRS has been minimal up to this point and they certainly have no background on how a IRS collection action would actually proceed. They have a natural fear of being in trouble with the government and are going to knee-jerk to anything that might faintly resemble potential government intervention - especially if they came from a country where their experiences would tend to akin to what the phone calls are threatening to do.

These people were not responding to some invitation to participate in a get-rich quick scheme but a threat against their livelihoods and meager assets. Yes, in a perfect world, it would be nice if everyone could be 100% alert, but we all don't come equally equipped. I wonder how you would feel if you reach the age of where your mental facilities are diminished to the point that a phone call might be the one thing to get to you react and forward money out of fear or intimidation, only to hear someone younger saying, "Well, it is really almost your fault for being so stupid."


I'm not all that younger. I am deep into my 60's. And I am truly sorry but if all it takes for you to be swindled is someone calling on the phone, pretending to be official, and demanding money, you are a sitting duck. The real point is there will always be crooks and swindlers. There will always be vulnerable people. The vultures in this world will always try to exploit vulnerable people. Their only defense they have is to try to be as vigilant as they can be and if in doubt to at least ask for aid from family, friends or neighbors. There are also help lines in several languages available to them. There is also law enforcement or other protection available. But if they are willing to be easily swindled, and not willing to at least check with the numerous resources available before handing over their money, yes, they are victims but they are also at least partly responsible for what happened. In the same sense that if you left a large sum of cash on the sidewalk and it was stolen, you are partially responsible for what happened.

And I am way to old to care one tiny whit about what you think of me or whether I am insensitive. Keep your judgments to yourself.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 12:31 am
by JamesVincent
Not related to the IRS calls but I got a phone call this morning from a restricted number(Social Security uses restricted numbers so I always answer in case I forgot something with my son's disability). I answer it and it is a person telling me I won $2.5 million plus a brand new Mercedes. I listen for a little while and I guess I wasn't excited enough cuz they kept asking if I wanted it. They asked me if I wanted the prize kept private or if I wanted TV crews there. I kept playing with them until they told me I had to go to a store and buy a Green Dot money card and put $499 on it. At that point I hung up, only so much I can take in the morning before my coffee. Couple of minutes later a call came through that was unavailable and I sent it to voicemail. They never left a message.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 11:22 am
by Arthur Rubin
What's a Green Dot money card?

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:22 pm
by JamesVincent
Arthur Rubin wrote:What's a Green Dot money card?


It's like one of the prepaid credit cards.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:09 pm
by operabuff
More like a prepaid debit card. It can be used to transfer cash anonymously.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:36 pm
by Arthur Rubin
Interesting. In the interest of fraud prevention, is there such a thing as a "marked" stored value debit card, similar to marked currency? That is, (with the approval of law enforcement, of course), the debit card looks real, has a balance, but immediately informs law enforcement when used.

Of course, if anyone knows but cannot talk about it, I understand....

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:11 pm
by AndyK
Debit cards, cedit cards, checking / savings accounts -- just like the 'bait car' shows on TV.

But, never in the hands of the average citizen.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 11:11 pm
by grixit
AndyK wrote:Debit cards, cedit cards, checking / savings accounts -- just like the 'bait car' shows on TV.

But, never in the hands of the average citizen.


Fair enough.

Next on Law and Order: a scammer and a detective turn out to be in cahoots to skim the bait accounts.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:32 pm
by jkeeb
My mother got the call. She's 89 and has dementia. Fortunately my brother was there and talked with the "agent". They were told that IRS was going to take them to court in two hours. Suggested brother stay on phone on the way to the bank. Brother told them was a land line. They hung up. He called them back and kept them on line for 20 minutes before they gave up. He reported the incident (and the apparently good number) to IRS website.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:45 pm
by fortinbras
This sort of a call from the IRS - pay cash today, we'll come pick it up -- was reportedly done a few years back with deaf people by crooks using a TTY (teletype for the deaf), a trick that naturally eliminated background noises, accents, and the like. This indicated not only a certain lowness in cheating disabled people, but also a modest amount of sophistication in opening up new vistas for fraud.

But telling people that the IRS will commence a lawsuit in two hours requires that the victim be utterly unfamiliar with how the IRS works. Mostly this means maybe 90% of the public, but not the people on this forum.

Re: Bogus IRS calls

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:13 pm
by obadiah
fortinbras wrote:But telling people that the IRS will commence a lawsuit in two hours requires that the victim be utterly unfamiliar with how the IRS works.


And the courts, and the Justice Department, etc., etc., etc.