Since we warned repeatedly about IRS phone scams on our blog, it seems like the problem has only gotten worse and not better. A quick Google search of the term “phone scams” shows this to be true. Here are just a select few news results from the past week:
ALERT: People behind the IRS Phone Scam won’t let up, and they’re aggressive
Wake Forest PD warns residents about IRS phone scam
IRS Phone Scam Reported In North Escambia Area
It seems that IRS phone scams never really go away, they just rotate to new localities. Now, however, a new tactic has emerged with these insidious creeps: voicemail.
The author of this blog can personally attest that now IRS phone scams have evolved into not just trying to catch folks off guard, but are leaving threatening, automated messages on peoples’ voicemails.
The message goes something like this: “_The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. To get more information about your case, please call the following number_…”
So what’s going on here? Why would the con artists be so bold as to leave potential evidence behind? (The number, by the way, came from an area code based in Port Townsend, WA.)
Most likely, this tactic is very similar to one used in (ethical) sales situations. What the con artists are trying to do is “qualify” their leads, or in this case, dupes, by seeing which people are nervous and uneducated enough to call them back.
We have reported on this blog before that the IRS never makes threatening phone calls and utilize snail mail announcing any outstanding debts. Additionally, the IRS phone scam works best on people who are unclear about their tax and financial situations. This includes people who perhaps have not filed a tax return, or have not been able to pay debts on what they owe.
By robo-calling a huge amount of people with the same threatening voicemail, the con artists can be sure that the ones who call them back are pretty good marks to be manipulated into sending them money, and fast. So don’t become a qualified dupe and don’t call back some random number pretending to be the IRS.
For more information on the IRS voicemail scam check out this article.