Whenever I have dealt with scam artists, which has only been a few times, I am reminded of Michael Scott of The Office who fell for the email scam involving the Prince from Nigeria that circulated for years on the Internet (see clip). But a phone call I received the other day was almost as good as the Nigerian email scam.
The caller — who had a very heavy foreign accent — was difficult to understand, but I finally figure out he was telling me he was from the IRS. Now, in the three decades or so I have filed income taxes, I have, on a couple occasions had correspondence with the IRS. The first thing I know about them is they mail everything — phone calls are not their specialty. (If you’ve ever tried to call them, you understand the concept of eternity since you are on hold forever.)
Regardless, I engaged the scam artist and asked what his mailing address was. Eventually I figured out the address number (77) and Northeast, but I could not decipher the street name until he said, ‘K as in Canada.’ I politely informed him Canada started with a C (ok, maybe not politely), and then informed him I would check out his information and call him back.
The next sentence I understood perfectly.
“K, cops come for you.”
After I got off the phone, I did a reverse phone lookup at White pages for the number (202-446-2092) and an alert said suspicious scam activity was associated with the phone number. It also had several comments from users who had recently received the unsolicited call.
Claim it was the IRS and wanted to “settle” a mistake made on past taxes. They went as far as saying that if I didn’t settle up and pay that a county sheriff would arrest me within a couple of hours.
Besides the fact I knew I did not owe the IRS anything, another clue it was a scam was my caller ID. The phone number came up as Voxbone SA — which is an overseas company that “provides local geographical, mobile and toll free phone numbers (DIDs) that enable cloud communications providers to expand the reach of their services.” Which, it seemed to me, would be the perfect type of telecommunication system for a scam artist to use.
I pass this along as a public service in case you receive the call. So now if they call you, since you know it’s a scam, you can do the right thing and, like me, try to help them with their spelling skills.