You're sitting there minding your business when you see a Washington, DC number ringing your cell. No, it's not me calling (you wish). When you pick up, a scary man who sounds more like a disgruntled Indian call center worker than an IRS agent begins threatening you with jail if you don't pay what you owe to the IRS immediately.
Now, for folks like you and I, we'd know this guy is a clown and the whole thing is a scam. But not all Americans are so lucky to have functioning professional skepticism.
You'll recall these idiot IRS scammers even attempted to bilk money out of notorious felon and ex Crazy Eddie CFO Sam Antar. Our pal Sam was kind enough to record the call so we could all have a good laugh about it.
The IRS says over 1,000 people have lost more than $5,000 each to scams like this (you all do the math).
One Virginia Beach woman can't even believe she fell for the scam:
“This is the most embarrassing and humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life,” she said about Wednesday’s call.
She’s so embarrassed and humiliated, she doesn’t want to be identified. But she does want people to hear how she lost $4,000 to a phone scam so they can protect themselves.
“People who hear this story may wonder, ‘How or why did you let this happen, how could you be so stupid?’” she said. “Trust me, I’ve asked myself that question so many times and I don’t have an answer.”
She still doesn’t understand why she got in the car, drove to the bank, withdrew $4,000 in cash, drove to the grocery store, bought these MoneyPaks, and read the codes to the caller, who immediately got her money.
“These men know how to get into your head,” she said. “He took all logical reasoning from me, he took my intelligence from me, he took my common sense from me.”
And $4,000, don't forget he took $4,000 from you.
A Charlotte minister who lost $16,500 to these clowns said the same thing:
“The natural question I raise about myself is how can you be so gullible and naive and let this happen?” Cadenhead said. “The reason is: This scam was so sophisticated and efficient and thorough, you’re in the middle of it before you realize what’s happening.”
Listening to the Sam Antar call, I'm not sure these guys are particularly sophisticated nor efficient but they do have Americans' natural fear of the IRS on their side.
The IRS has once again reminded gullible, naive taxpayers to ignore these idiots and don't give them any of your hard-earned money:
These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.
“In recent weeks, we continue to see these telephone scams in every part of the country,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are clear warning signs of fraud. This is not how we do business. We urge people to be careful when they get these threatening phone calls.”
Here is a helpful video to send to your grandma so she can educate herself on these scams. Remember: only the IRS gets your personal information and your hard-earned money.