Money Management/Taxes

Listen To This Recording Of A Real IRS Phone Scam (So You Don’t Get Scammed This Year)

By | Friday, March 04, 2016


Last week, I reached out to a man (who we’ll call Tom) who posted on Reddit about getting more than one call from an IRS scammer. I wrote an article recently on IRS scams you should know about (because, well, ’tis the season), and to further our understanding of the subject, I think it’s equally important to hear an actual recording of an IRS scam. Tom answered the first call from the scammers and then hung up on them. The scammers called a second time, and left a message when Tom didn’t answer. He recorded the message and emailed it to me so we could publish the sound bite.

The clip below is the exact message the scammers left on his machine. Though the content of the message could lead you to easily understand that it’s false, listening to the clip was jarring because, to me, it sounds somewhat authentic. It reminds me of getting a call from a collections agency for an overdue bill. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting an automated collections call about a medical bill, and my first reaction was to immediately respond to the request, instead of verifying their claims and thinking it through. My gut yelled, “CALL THEM RIGHT BACK! Pay this very second!” because, honestly, I tend to respond quickly and rashly. However, once I took a step back and calmed down, I opted to verify their claims before calling the collections agency back. I called my insurance company, and the doctor’s office directly, and thoroughly checked the validity of collection agency’s assertion before paying the bill.

Obviously, the following message is an entirely different scenario because it is not legitimate. Nevertheless, if you receive a message like this, the lesson of taking a step back to think about the message, instead of panicking and acting immediately, still applies. The IRS put out a statement saying that you know these calls are scams because the IRS will never call you directly to demand immediate payment over the phone. For more information on IRS scams, visit the document the IRS released on the issue.

Here is the message the IRS scammers left for Tom:

The message says:

“We’re calling to inform you that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department. Number: 253-245-3012. I repeat:253-245-3012. Thank you.”

Image via Unsplash

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