A New Telephone Scam

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2016 12:05 PM GMT
    A number of my friends have been hit with this in South Florida in recent days, as we have. It goes like this:

    Your land line phone gets a call, that shows as "Unknown" on your caller ID. We don't immediately answer unknown and unidentified numbers, instead letting them go to voice mail for call screening.

    The message that's left says: "The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] is bringing a lawsuit against you." And then urges immediate action, giving a number to call back. We did not, nor would our friends who also got these.

    Irregularities with these calls include:
    - If the IRS has a tax dispute they will mail you, by registered letter if necessary; they don't initially phone, and not for legal notification of a lawsuit. If a lawsuit has already been filed a Federal Court would also notify you.
    - The IRS does not sue without first having made prior attempts to resolve a dispute, with either informal or formal hearings, or both.
    - This alleged lawsuit is against a "you" and doesn't specify the litigant by name. There can be more than 1 person at a residential number, as in our case. Who exactly is being sued? A clue that random numbers are being phoned.
    - The originating number is not toll-free, nor is the call-back number. The US government would use toll-free.
    - The IRS would also identify itself in the caller ID. It wouldn't be "Unknown". Nor did the caller identify themselves as being the IRS, merely that the "the IRS" is bringing a lawsuit. How would a non-governmental 3rd party have this information?

    I have no doubt that calling their number would result in a proposed settlement to end the lawsuit by giving them money through some method. I simply laughed at the stupidity of the attempt and ignored it, as did our friends, and none of us phoned back. But I'm sure out of thousands contacted there must be some gullible people who will believe this, especially among the elderly.

    Have you gotten these? I wonder if it extends beyond South Florida to other parts of the US?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2016 1:12 PM GMT
    never gotten this:
    -change the phone# (and other stuff too) once a year
    -dump the land line
    -never answer on callers not in my contact list
    -keep the contacts synced between all our computers
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    Jun 10, 2016 1:37 PM GMT
    pellaz saidnever gotten this:
    -change the phone# (and other stuff too) once a year
    -dont have a land line
    -never answer on callers not in my contact list
    -keep the contacts synced between all our computers

    - Changing phone numbers annually is too disruptive for all those legitimate callers who want to contact us. Whether landline or cellular.
    - We use a land line to answer our condo's outside intercom and to remotely open the building lobby door. We also use it for our DSL router. Local broadband cable service is poor in our area.
    - We never answer unknown calls.
    - Contacts between our 6 devices are automatically and continuously synced through iCloud.
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    Jun 10, 2016 2:00 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said... a land line to answer our condo's outside intercom and to remotely open the building lobby door, dsl...
    a rush to be unique. so there is a verified continuous string of copper atoms from your 1990's apparatus to the condo front gate and the way beyondicon_confused.gif
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    Jun 10, 2016 5:22 PM GMT
    pellaz said
    Art_Deco said
    ... a land line to answer our condo's outside intercom and to remotely open the building lobby door, dsl...
    a rush to be unique. so there is a verified continuous string of copper atoms from your 1990's apparatus to the condo front gate and the way beyondicon_confused.gif

    Dated as the technology may be, we didn't choose it. But are stuck with it for the foreseeable future.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2016 5:50 PM GMT
    My bf has been getting those calls. He's ignored them.
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    Jun 10, 2016 7:17 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidA number of my friends have been hit with this in South Florida in recent days, as we have. It goes like this:

    Your land line phone gets a call, that shows as "Unknown" on your caller ID. We don't immediately answer unknown and unidentified numbers, instead letting them go to voice mail for call screening.

    The message that's left says: "The IRS [Internal Revenue Service] is bringing a lawsuit against you." And then urges immediate action, giving a number to call back. We did not, nor would our friends who also got these.

    Irregularities with these calls include:
    - If the IRS has a tax dispute they mail you, by registered letter if necessary; they don't initially phone, and not for legal notification of a lawsuit. If a lawsuit has already been filed a Federal Court would also notify you.
    - The IRS does not sue without first having made prior attempts to resolve a dispute, with either informal or formal hearings, or both.
    - This alleged lawsuit is against a "you" and doesn't specify the litigant by name. There can be more than 1 person at a residential number, as in our case. Who exactly is being sued?
    - The originating number is not toll-free, nor is the call-back number. The US government would use toll-free.
    - The IRS would also identify itself in the caller ID. It wouldn't be "Unknown". Nor did the caller identify themselves as being the IRS, merely that the "the IRS" is bringing a lawsuit. How would a non-governmental 3rd party have this information?

    I have no doubt that calling their number would result in a proposed settlement to end the lawsuit by giving them money through some method. I simply laughed at the stupidity of the attempt and ignored it, as did our friends, and none of us phoned back. But I'm sure out of thousands contacted there must be some gullible people who will believe this, especially among the elderly.

    Have you gotten these? I wonder if it extends beyond South Florida to other parts of the US?


    I've gotten many of them on landline and a few on cell here in Colorado. Landline just rolls to voicemail -- I never pick up. I just hang up on the cell calls & block the number.
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    Jun 10, 2016 7:39 PM GMT
    Yes, this has been in the news more and more lately. If they get you on the phone, they will usually make threats of one kind or another. The IRS, despite its reputation, does not do this.
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 1035

    Jun 11, 2016 12:51 AM GMT
    Ain't new at all, I've been getting these calls for a few years.

    Since they always leave a callback number, I've wondered how they manage to avoid getting caught, or at least shut down.

    'Course I always just ignore 'em. Maybe everybody's as lazy as me.

    Try reporting the next one to the cops, Art. Let us know how it turns out.
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jun 11, 2016 1:45 AM GMT
    The IRS has not, not since the hearings in the early part of this century, used tactics like threatening taxpayers, until 1998, when there were senate hearings when Clinton was president, and the illegal behavior of the agency was brought into the public eye.

    Congress passed a reform to prevent undue harassment. I'm surprised that anyone over 30 wouldn't know about this, as it was in the newspapers - front page headlines - for weeks.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1998/apr/29/news/mn-44247

    Since then, the IRS has, from all accounts, ceased these kinds of telephone calls, which got a significant number of managers fired. And, as already mentioned, they ALWAYS send a written notice for the taxpayer to call back to, complete with reference numbers so that the IRS representative can access the specific notice.

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    Jun 11, 2016 8:33 PM GMT
    pellaz said
    Art_Deco said... a land line to answer our condo's outside intercom and to remotely open the building lobby door, dsl...
    a rush to be unique. so there is a verified continuous string of copper atoms from your 1990's apparatus to the condo front gate and the way beyondicon_confused.gif

    Hey. I LOVE a landline. I ALWAYS have an old rotary phone as a landline. Why?

    I'm from Miami. When the power's out, the landline still works. "But I have a cell phone!" you'll say.

    Well, let me say this about that...

    Living on Long Island during Hurricane Sandy ALL my neighbors had cell phones but they had to drive five miles to get a signal, usually through impassable roads, wasting gas better saved for their generators. And I lived on a cul-de-sac, LOW priority for power restoration (main streets are tended to first). The ELEVEN days our power was out my old rotary phone on a land line worked, and I sat comfortable at home without having to burn gasoline (aside from trips within a quarter mile of the house) in anything but my generator. I was connected to the outside world, without a cell phone or even - gasp! - the internet. Because old phones don't need electricity or batteries.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Jun 11, 2016 10:00 PM GMT
    Twice, I've received similar calls.
    If I owed the IRS, they wouldn't call me, they would send me a notice in the mail.
    Plus, they would give me plenty of chances to pay what they claimed I owed (and, give me an opportunity to dispute the claim).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 11, 2016 11:00 PM GMT
    Webster666 saidTwice, I've received similar calls.
    If I owed the IRS, they wouldn't call me, they would send me a notice in the mail.
    Plus, they would give me plenty of chances to pay what they claimed I owed (and, give me an opportunity to dispute the claim).

    Exactly. Why we & our friends laughed at these calls and ignored them. But I did wonder how widespread this thing is, plus other phone and online scams, and why the authorities don't shut these operations down.
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jun 12, 2016 4:34 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    pellaz said
    Art_Deco said... a land line to answer our condo's outside intercom and to remotely open the building lobby door, dsl...
    a rush to be unique. so there is a verified continuous string of copper atoms from your 1990's apparatus to the condo front gate and the way beyondicon_confused.gif

    Hey. I LOVE a landline. I ALWAYS have an old rotary phone as a landline. Why?

    I'm from Miami. When the power's out, the landline still works. "But I have a cell phone!" you'll say.

    Well, let me say this about that...

    Living on Long Island during Hurricane Sandy ALL my neighbors had cell phones but they had to drive five miles to get a signal, usually through impassable roads, wasting gas better saved for their generators. And I lived on a cul-de-sac, LOW priority for power restoration (main streets are tended to first). The ELEVEN days our power was out my old rotary phone on a land line worked, and I sat comfortable at home without having to burn gasoline (aside from trips within a quarter mile of the house) in anything but my generator. I was connected to the outside world, without a cell phone or even - gasp! - the internet. Because old phones don't need electricity or batteries.


    Not to mention, when was the last time a landline phone dropped a call? Additionally, the sound quality is superior to digital. I find it interesting that millennials have re-discovered that vinyl sounds better than digital, but then, when I wrote for an audio magazine in the 80s, we told people regularly that despite surface noise, vinyl (analogue vinyl, not digital vinyl) could separate voices in a choir out in a way that digital could only wish for, and was far superior to digital. Once again, people listened to the popular press and ditched their vinyl.
    Hence, I've always had a landline phone in addition to cell service, which echoes what the above poster wrote. In a hurricane,or tornado, you can forget getting signal if the tower goes down. Landline almost never goes down, not even in the "big" San Francisco quake in 1989. We still had service, but then, cellphones were nearly nonexistent at that time anyway. Nonetheless, I was still able to call my family back East to tell them I was fine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 12, 2016 5:06 AM GMT
    I'm more shocked that people answer phone calls from unknown or unfamiliar numbers.