Every year the IRS sends out its “Dirty Dozen” list.  This is a compilation of the most prevalent tax scams, with the intent to inform and warn taxpayers of tax related rip-offs.

The very first on the list involves phone scams.  The IRS warning reads as follows:

Phone Scams: Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remains an ongoing threat to taxpayers. The IRS has seen a surge of these phone scams in recent months as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise during any filing season.

Just last week a client of mine received a call from such a potential scammer.  Fortunately, the client was not home when the call came in and the person left a message.  The message stated that they were about to institute a law suit to collect taxes and foreclose on their home.

All of this is a complete fraud – the IRS will never make such a call.  They operate by sending such documents via mail.

After the client told me about the message, I called the area code 202 (Washington, DC) number that was left for my client.  The phone rang about eight times before a person answered.  The person had a very thick foreign accent and the call quality was not good.  It gave me the impression this person was not in the United States.  Here is the play by play:

  1. What IRS office are you calling from? Answer – the main IRS office in Washington DC.
  2. What address is that? Answer – 1111 Constitutional Ave (which actually is an IRS address)
  3. What is your employee ID number? Answer – IRM2076 (IRS employee IDs do not have letters)
  4. Sorry didn’t get your name? Answer – hard to spell foreign sounding name.
  5. Can you spell that for me? Answer – first name is spelled “F-#-@-K” and last name is “Y-O-U” (real letters were used)

Then the man starts to laugh and quickly hangs up.

This type of criminal fraud is unfortunately rampant this tax season.  CBS This Morning had a news piece on this issue a few days ago.