I got a call from a Washington, D.C. number yesterday with an automated message telling me it was the “Criminal Investigation Division” of the IRS, and to call them back immediately.
I did. Got on the phone with an Indian sounding man who told me his name was Matt Smith, or some generic sounding American name. He told me there was a warrant out for my arrest because I fraudulently claimed some tax exemptions over the past three years.
I wasn’t thinking straight because I’m in the process of buying a house, and my credit is really important. It sounded convincing until he asked me to pay.
He said there were two ways it could be handled, either “privately or publicly.” I could either pay the debt now and it wouldn’t be reported to any credit agencies, or I could do it publicly, in which case the debt would be reported to the police and local news outlets.
He told me all my assets had been frozen and my bank accounts were “black listed.” It didn’t seem like a term an IRS agent would use, but whatever. Then he told me since my accounts were frozen, the only way I could pay the debt was with gift cards from the grocery store, and that I needed to stay on the line with him the entire time until I got the cards. WTF? How am I going to buy gift cards if my bank account has been frozen? Do you think I just have $3,000 in cash on me right now?
That’s when it clicked. This is bullshit. I lived in DC for a few years and I know the area. I started asking him how he gets to work, what neighborhood he lives in, what Metro stop he gets off at, etc.
He just hung up on me and when I tried to call back it just kept coming up as a busy signal.
I’m laughing about it now, but I was shitting bricks on the phone yesterday. I’m an educated, moderately intelligent person, and he had me going. They probably trick elderly people with this scam all the time.