IRS Warns Of Phone Scams During Tax Season

Thursday, March 17th 2016, 4:40 pm

The IRS warns us over and over that they will never leave messages on your phone threatening to arrest you. So when one of our co-workers got a call like that, we thought we’d check it out.

The call he received sounds like it might be a robo-call from the US Treasury Department. “This call is official final notice from the United States Treasury.” The robo-call states, “We have received legal petition notice concerning a tax sought against you.”

The robo-caller left a number, so News 9’s Aaron Brilbeck thought it would be fun to call. 

“Sir, this is for the year 2010 and 2011,” the man who claimed he was from the IRS told Aaron with a thick accent, “And the reason for my call is to inform you that there is a case that will be prosecuted in the unites states tax code by the IRS and your state.”

The phony IRS representative told Aaron there were errors in his tax statements.  So, he played along. 

“So the total mount at this point in time you owe the IRS is $9743.26,” he told Aaron. 

Aaron asked, “Could we waive the late fee because I didn’t know that I owed the money? If I paid it could you waive the late fee?” 

He replied, “No, you don’t need to make the payment. All your payment options have been canceled.”

And that was the surprise; the scammer wouldn't take Aaron’s money.  

“I wish I could just pay it off and be done with it,” Aaron pleaded. 

“But sir, I’m sorry to say that I’m not the senior officer out there. It’s not in my hands and I cannot see any option given to you in the case file. And nothing is in my hands,” he said.

News 9 took the information to the state attorney general's office.  They suspect the scammer was on to Aaron Brilbeck. 

“They’ve made billions of dollars off this scam,” said Julie Bays with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.

“So they’ve managed to put together whole groups of call centers now. It’s a whole business industry in itself. And so they’re training their “Employees” how to make these calls and when to pull back if they feel suspicious that the person is faking who they are,” she continued.

Apparently, it’s hard to scam a scammer. And it’s even harder to catch one. The Attorney General’s office told News 9 most of these calls come from other countries, and tracking down the scammers is almost impossible. Once you give them your money or personal information, they say, it’s generally gone for good.

The IRS says it will never call you and threaten to have you arrested for not paying taxes on time. If you do get a call like that, they suggest, just hang up. 

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