Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm Being Sued By the IRS For $20,000

So I was spending time with Nicholas the other afternoon when I got a voice message from a phone number I didn't recognize; I'm being sued by the IRS, please call back right away. Now, I could easily have panicked and freaked out about this but I've been expecting this phone call for a few months now so was prepared on how I would handle it.

I called the number left for me in the message, which according to the caller ID on my phone was located in Texas. I get ahold of a man with a heavy Indian accent who gives me his name, Aaron Hall, and proceeds to give me his batch number as I hear numerous voices in the background in what sounds like a call center. After confirming my name, he looked up my record and then tells me that they are an auditing company. My tax records from 2008-2013 were audited and they discovered that there was a miscalculation on my income taxes; I owe $20,000 to the IRS who is now filing a law suit. "Aaron" give me an arrest warrant number, letting me know that if I don't comply immediately the warrant will be issued and a sheriff will be at my house to arrest me in 25-30 minutes.

I had two options; try to fight the law suit. This would result in my arrest, facing up to five years in prison and having my driver's lisence revoked. Option two; agree to make a payment through this agency who would then help me schedule a court date to try to work things out with the IRS.

What would you do?

I don't have $20,000. In fact, I don't think I've even come close to having half that amount! So I remained calm, even maintaining a bit of levity in my tone. I'd go as far to say I was somewhat jovial with Mr. Hall, with a southern accent so thick he sounds like he's from India. Keeping calm, I said to Mr. Hall from the Texas call center:

"I don't have $20,000, so my options are limited. But I'll tell you what I'll can go ahead and issue your arrest warrant. I watched ABC News a couple months ago and I know that this is a scam."

The call was ended from the other end. I'm still waiting for the police three days later but I have a feeling they won't be knocking on my door any time soon.

You see, ABC News (amongst others) recently reported on this very scam a few months ago. The IRS does not have the authority to issue arrest warrants nor can they revoke your lisence. They also wouldn't delegate something like this to a third party agency. A spokesman for the IRS issued a statement saying those very things, warning people that if someone calls saying you're being sued it's likely a scam. The IRS might not have the best reputation, but they deserve a little more credit than that.

The problem is that because so many people don't trust the IRS and have been led to fear them that a scam like this preys upon that mistrust and that fear. As a result, this scam has cost uninformed tax payers millions of dollars because they've fallen for this scam. I have to admit, it would be pretty easy to panic upon hearing all those threats. But even if I wasn't already informed of this scam, it seemed pretty shady from the call center background to the India-accent with a very American name. Even the extent of the threats seemed pretty far-fetched, not to mention the dollar amount that was being claimed. I don't think I even got that much back from the IRS during that 6 year period!

Still, once fear and panic set in it's easy to fall prey to something like this. So be warned that if Mr. Hall calls saying you're being sued by the IRS and could be arrested in 30 minutes, it's a scam.

Just a little side note...this is my 100th posting on this blog! Wow!

1 comment:

Evelyn Sears said...

I'm glad you had the presence of mind not to panic, as calls like this can trigger automatic fear responses, until one calms down for a few seconds and starts thinking again.