Phone Scam

Perhaps this has been going on for a while but it is the first I have had it happen to me.  Over the last two days I have had robocalls from two numbers - 626-265-4560 and 413-356-4173.  The robot says in a menacing way that this is the final call I am going to get and that the IRS is about to file a lawsuit against me.  I knew better than to believe this and did not call back, but several websites report that if you call these numbers, you get an operator who demands personal information without giving out any explanation.  Beware.  This is obvious phishing and should be avoided.

Update:  Add 213-447-4831 and 802-673-0582 to the list.


  1. CJ Cornell:

    I'm almost tempted to call just to mess with them - and pretend i am from the IRS.

  2. LucidFur:

    Awhile ago, a large number of people my town received these calls for a few days. I got three variations of the same call. The police chief announced that these calls were fake.

  3. AlanB:

    The news networks should make periodic public announcements that the IRS does not ever call people on the phone.

  4. CPA:

    This problem is far more widespread than most people realize. I am a CPA, a conservative estimate is that 30-40% of my individual clients have been contacted by the scammers.

    All the scammers need is a correct name and phone number (remember the old white pages).

  5. Jens Fiederer:

    Very common. It has happened to me once directly (with me actually answering the phone), and a couple of times on my answering machine...they kept calling, and English was obviously not their native language.

  6. Jens Fiederer:

    I don't remember if it was the same number, but I checked mine on the internet and it was clear that this was a commonly used number. Yours, if different, also comes up:

  7. jdgalt:

    I just finished an IRS seminar on this sort of scams; they're becoming much more common.

    IRS does not e-mail or phone anybody to demand money (except they may phone you AFTER mailing a paper bill and giving you time to appeal it). They will never demand specific payment methods or immediate payment, nor will they threaten to send local police agencies to arrest you for not paying; and they don't need your SSN or bank account numbers. Any of these demands is a red flag that the call is from a scammer and you should refuse to answer any questions.

    Phishing has also gone way up this year. These scammers want your name and SSN so that they can file a phony tax return on your behalf and collect a refund.

  8. jdgalt:

    Understandable thought but bad idea. You do not want a visit from the Secret Service.

  9. ErikTheRed:

    Actually, the new term is "vishing" (voice phishing). It's not just inbound calls to you need to worry about. There are "underground" call centers that are set up to take outbound calls from you that will be answered by someone pretending to be your bank, that IRS, or whatever. They will have the correct accent and enough personal information about you to seem legit. These calls are relatively expensive for the bad guys ($10-$20 each), but if it nets them enough information to get into your bank account then it's excellent ROI.

    The sad thing is that these call centers seem to be better run than the legitimate ones in many cases...

  10. Pinebluff:

    Love those last and final warning calls as the SOBs won't be calling any more!!

  11. SamWah:

    I used to get those. Obviously robocalls, because they always started talking while my message was playing.

  12. STW:

    I had a client in my driveway on the phone with one of these guys. Rather than come in he drove off, paid them $2000 over the phone, and returned, still talking with them. I was able to ask maybe two questions, once he handed me the phone, and they were gone (along with the money). I told another client to ask them for his own social security number when they called if he had any doubts. He at least was able to laugh (at them) when he told me their reaction. I suspect he'd have gotten the same response if he'd just asked them for his name.

  13. tex:

    I've received a few. One time I called our stage AG's office which said they receive many such complaints from various numbers & they shut them down, but the scam returns with a different number. Maybe if we all called our AG's for every call, they could be harassed enough to quit.

    Another ph scam is a very-Indian accent guys calling to fix my computer, usually to remove malware "they know has infected my computer." This is much more common than the IRS scam & I've started to cuss 'em out recently, though perhaps I ought to be patient and keep them on the phone for as long as possible to waste their time, or maybe also call AG.

  14. gr8econ:

    Got a phone message from 321 837 3617 this afternoon informing me that the IRS had filed a lien. Called the number for the college where I'm an adjunct. It is listed in the college directory.

  15. Scott Solar:

    My calls came from a New Jersey number. Of course, if one were to. Be sued, you would be served in person. Not called about it. Jackasses.

  16. Kurt:

    All it would take would be a handful of cases of these frauds being tracked down, arrested and tried, then sentenced to ten years. No parole.

    And this would in the main, stop. But the government is far more interested in saving you from non-existent problems like AGW and Transgenders being denied the bathroom of their choice.

  17. jdgalt:

    You wish. Most of these are boiler room call centers in countries that don't extradite people to the US, including Russia and China. Once in a while they convict somebody. More often the perps buy the judge.

  18. Craig:

    I have gotten the "IRS" call and they have even left a message. But I get the "Windows Support" call far more often. My business number and my home numbers only differ by 4 numbers in the last digit, so the calls often come in simultaneously.

    If I'm in the mood to mess with "John" or "Heather" I will try to keep them on as long as possible: play dumb, misunderstand instructions, etc. I periodically put the "Matt" on "hold" next to my music speaker. I've had 10-15 minute calls. Then at the end I'll apologize for misunderstanding but I have an Apple. (Don't do this right away because they well just switch to their infected Apple script.")

    Sometimes I try to shame them, but I have ended up feeling bad. "Phil" actually said that he hated what he was doing and asked if I knew of any better jobs.

    Lately, I just hang up.

  19. tex:

    Suppress any "feeling bad." They deserve it. We do not.

  20. Solomon Foster:

    I think I've gotten this one three or four times now, in two distinct groups. The first batch of calls all consistently said "IRS" or "Internal Revenue Service" instead of the US standard "the IRS" or "the Internal Revenue Service". The most recent call got that right but had some other "American English is not our native tongue" issue I've since forgotten.

  21. Seekingfactsforsanity:

    I knew it was a scam but wanted to take up some of their time. I called them back and told them I got a message to call them. They asked me what my name was and I told them I would be happy to give them my number and then they could tell me my name - which they should have since they were about to sue the person at this number. They gave me some crazy sounding name. I told them no one by that name lives here - and they said OK, we will remove your number from our list. They did not get my name. Call from Washington State, not Washington DC. LOL.

  22. NormD:

    How many of your clients take the calls seriously?

  23. Agammamon:

    Apparently this is becoming so common that the IRS itself has already been issuing warnings and pointing out that the IRS a) most likely will not call you - they'll send a letter, b) they won't demand you provide PII - they already know it, and c) don't accept payment in gift cards.

  24. Agammamon:

    You think the scammers are going to call the police and complain that someone is scamming them?

    And the SS is Treasury - they deal with counterfeiting and bodyguarding. The IRS has its own police force and would be supplemented by FBI and Federal Marshalls.

  25. JaedoDrax: is your friend, most of the time, these numbers get reported quickly.

    A better solution would be for the phone companies to disallow Caller ID falsification, but then they wouldn't get the money from the call centers located in India and Pakistan.

  26. CPA:

    None of my clients have been scammed, though I know of one 25 year old that got scammed. What was interesting in that case, was the credit card company was aware of the scam and required verbally authorization to approve the credit card charge before processing the payment. The 25 year old was so scared of being arrested that He approved the charge even though the credit card company was on the phone line and told him it was as scam.

  27. Jim Collins:

    I got one of those IRS calls. I just told them that I would be at the local IRS office first thing in the morning to turn myself in. Click!

  28. Orion Henderson:

    Best thing to do is call and get started. Then tell them that this call may be recorded for quality and training purposes. It's amusing to hear the reaction on the other end.

    That provided me great amusement when I received a similar call about my electric bill a while back.

  29. jdgalt:

    The SS also deals with computer crime. Hopefully by now they know enough about it not to pull another Steve Jackson Games raid.

  30. jdgalt:

    I love when they say "this call may be recorded" because that wording is also permission for me to record it myself.

  31. marque2:

    That would be funny though, having Obama pay for a new Aircraft Carrier with Amazon gift cards.

    Get a reactor core with free second day shipping. It may show up two days late, but the government is used to months of delay so it would be an improvement.

  32. marque2:

    Kill them with drones!

  33. Kurt:

    Sic' Bun-Bun on them...

  34. Mike Powers:

    Most of these places use MagicJack or simiar IP-to-copper bridge services, and they can put in whatever callback number they want. If you actually try to call, it doesn't go anywhere (or, at least, it goes to people with enough sense to know you're full of shit.)

  35. Mike Powers:

    Did they tell you to do the needful?

  36. Conqueror of All Foes Cheese:

    You can add 213-321-6024 to that list. I got the threatening robocall yesterday. It seems to me it should be easier to trace these and locate the scammers more than is happening.

  37. GoneWithTheWind:

    Have you used Craigslist and put your phone number on it?

  38. Lexie Russell:

    Two new numbewrs I got calls from today. Now they have a warrant out for my arrest. 844-701-1084 and 877-219-9511