I was totally just phished. I’m writing about this here just in case they call you.
Bryan got a call from the IRS, saying it was urgent. He sent me the number and I called them. The phone was picked up immediately. Which was phishy, because you never reach the IRS immediately, you always go through language menus and department menus and then you wait on hold for half an hour.
They said they were from the criminal investigation department. They read off three allegations against me:
Violation of Federal Tax Regulations
Violation of Internal Revenue Code
Theft by deception.
They were good. They had so many big words. They had Indian accents. Their phone number was a Washington DC number.
They left their phone number in a message on Bryan’s phone, so I called them. You know how they say the IRS will never call you and ask for money? Well, I called them, so it didn’t feel like a scam.
They said we were audited and they found mistakes on our taxes from 2006-2015. Which was phishy, because I don’t think I was paying taxes in 2006. I was still a junior in high school.
They were lucky, because we currently have an open tax issue right now, and we fully expected a call. And I wanted to be extremely cooperative because I thought they were the IRS and they said they would put a lien on our assets.
They told me I could either resolve this out of court (aka pay $6,900) or they would take “legal action” because Theft by Deception is a serious offense. They said if I didn’t want to settle this on the phone right now, I could also try to “fight against the government.” They would send the local dispatcher to take me into custody.
I tried to ask questions about what in the tax law I violated, and he cited 86-c. Which I googled, and nothing really IRSy came up. Which is phishy, because whenver I google tax stuff the form or law always comes up on the IRS website or on Turbo Tax’s website.
They said I couldn’t even call my husband. Because this call was being recorded for the grand jury and there are lots of regulations with juries (which I know there are) and it needed to be confidential. Which was phishy, because my husband and I filed jointly, but they said the investigation was on my own name. Which I bought, because I was the one who filed the amendment and appeal for my real tax issue.
Wow. I am sweating. And crying. So much liquid is exiting my body at this time.
They were good! They had so many words. More than I had.
The last time I paid money to a scammer, they also had too many words for me to understand. Don’t ask. (Okay, I was calling around for insurance, and I accidentally got a “medical discount plan.” A.K.A. glorified coupon book for $99).
I didn’t give them my bank account number, and I didn’t give them my social security number. But I did give them a lot of details about my tax issue because I was used to explaining and re-explaining my case to different IRS people. This really just gave him more ammo to confuse me.
I asked him (Robert Farrel- and the other guy was Shaun Miller. Which was phishy because they were clearly Indian. They should not have had American names, pronounced slightly irregularly) how he could verify that he really was a legitimate government employee. I wanted him to send me to the IRS website and show me the number to call that would forward to his office. He wouldn’t do that, citing lots of red tape they would have to go through to forward the call. He said if I couldn’t trust him, then we couldn’t do anything. He sounded kind of offended and condescending.
I messaged my husband and asked him to call 911 to verify that Mr. Farrel (yes, with just one L.), ID# 7629, was an IRS employee. Bryan was in a meeting.
I seriously considered paying him. Because 1. I knew I had an open tax issue and 2. I couldn’t call anyone and I couldn’t understand everything and didn’t have time to understand it before I would get arrested. I thought that maybe looking back on this with Bryan, he would have been happy that I paid $7000 instead of going to jail and leaving the kids alone.
I kept asking how he could verify his legitimacy. He said that after I paid the $6900 (he used more words, of course), then he would send me documents (which I told him existed when I explained my case) that proved his legitimacy. I said, “So after I pay $7000 you will prove to me you are who you say you are? I have to pay $7000 right now and I can’t even talk to anybody? This does not sound like the American government which I know and love. I am instructing my husband to call 911 to verify that a Robert Farrell ID # 7629 works for the IRS.”
He said, “Bye-bye.”