Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Um Yeah, Seems Legit...

"Home of the Internal Revenue Service" by Joshua Doubek - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (Source)
Upon return to the manse after a full day's gainful employment, I note that the message thingie is beeping on the landline. 'Tis a most annoying sound, which means it's an excellent way to get one's attention. (Yes, we still have a landline. No, I'm not sure why.)

So I press the message checkee thingie (sorry for all the technical terms) and note that I have "one new message and one old message." Hhmm. Okay.

The first message is your standard, "Hi my name is Joe Handiman and I own and operate a small carpet cleaning...." BEEP

"One message deleted." Sayeth the robot inside the answering machine.

I press for the old message. Of course, the wee robot within the device has to tell me that this is an "old message." Ya know, just in case I forgot.

What comes out is most odd. Or perhaps typical in these days of high technology devices, gullible people and low information voters.
“Hello, we have been trying to reach you. This call is officially a final notice from the IRS, Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit against you.”
Um yeah, right.

While the U.S. government might seem like a bunch of bumbling idiots and clowns, I can assure you, they're not. You're confusing the folks who actually perform the functions of our government with their political masters. Cumbersome, inefficient, illogical? Yes, sometimes one of those and even sometimes "all of the above."

However comma.

The IRS does not call you and threaten you with a "Final Notice." No, they send you a letter. I have received written communication from the IRS three times.

Once it was to tell me, "Hey, you forgot to take the Earned Income Credit. We took care of that for you, so your refund will be larger than you expected." A most happy call back when I was a young Staff Sergeant with a new son and heir at home.

Second time was, "Yo Sarge, you forgot to take this deduction. We fixed that, this will (again) increase your refund." Another happy call, I think it was some new deduction that a lot of people didn't know about.

Third time (and you knew there would be a third time) was, "Uh Sarge, you forgot to include this income and that deduction is no longer valid. This will (sigh) decrease your refund." A tax professional I am not.

So I suspected that this out of the blue call was bogus. They gave me a number to call, so, I was in the mood for some fun, I called the number.

It was a DC exchange. But the nice recorded voice lady (who sounds much more human than the tiny robot voice who dwells within the landline device) informed me that the number had been either disconnected or was no longer in service. (Not being a phone guy I don't get the distinction, but the phone company, they know.)

So, as I suspected, a scam phone call. Checked it out online, seems this has been going on for a while. You can read about other IRS phone scams and the like here. Entertaining, though somewhat scary, reading.

Scary because of the number of people in this country who fall for these things.

Now I imagine a lot of those folks are elderly. Folks who grew up trusting their government and trusting that other people weren't a bunch of rapacious ne'er-do-wells.

I have received (junk) mail with the ominous "SECOND NOTICE" "warning" printed diagonally across the front to make it look like some sort of official stamp.

Open it up and it's usually for some sort of magazine subscription and is designed to look like a bill but if you read the whole thing, it's sort of clear (if you can read the little tiny font used) it's not a bill but a solicitation to purchase said magazine for the listed price.

But they include a rather bill-like envelope with a little payment slip just like an actual bill. I envision this is what happens down in Florida or maybe Arizona. (What is "Where old Yankees go to live out the remainder of their days" Alex?)

"Honey, did you pay the magazine bill?"

"No, not yet Ezra? Why?"

"Never mind Ethel, I'll take care of it..."

The one who opened the bogus bill/offer dutifully fills out a check, pops it in the envelope and sends it out.

A couple of months later (if they're lucky) a new subscription to Field and Fountain (or some other semi-glossy cheap periodical chock-a-block with advertisements and perhaps an article, or two, on fly fishing in Greenland, or Equatorial Guinea) starts showing up at their door.

By the way, you know those envelopes that companies include to send the payment back to them in? Why does it always seem to say (on the front) "Affix stamp here. Post office will not deliver mail without postage."

Well, no sh!t Sherlock.

But then again, I'll bet someone purposely left the stamp off and then got away scot-free by claiming that "I thought it was one of those pre-stamped envelopes! Why should I have to put a stamp on it?"

So no doubt the company lawyers all sat down and said "Well, he's got us there. Start printing 'Affix stamp here. Post office will not deliver mail without postage.' on all the envelopes. That'll absolve us of all future responsibility."

"Oh yeah, shut that guy's gas off and, oh yeah, send him one of those "SECOND NOTICE" letters for some magazine subscription that he doesn't need. I have a couple of examples in my desk."

At any rate, I don't think the IRS is going to sue me. Not today.

Now I just need to make sure that those funds from my good buddy Aghedo (former colonel in the Nigerian Army, falsely accused of treason and needing my help to get his millions out of a bank in Lagos) are properly accounted for and the right withholding is taken out and forwarded to the IRS.


That's a scam?


  1. You youngsters! There was a time when the Postal Service would deliver an unstamped envelope "postage due".All of us scofflaws would send in our payments in an unstamped envelope. Caused expense and consternation. Eventually the screaming and yelling got too bad for the Postal Service to handle and they changed the policy.

    1. Those were the days.

      Some small, rural POs still do that. Especially if they know the recipient.

    2. Yup. Ours here in Billsburg (as we confidants call it) still does this.

    3. Smalltown USA, gotta love it!

  2. Just for the hell of it, I'd call the office of the U.S. Attorney and tell them someone is attempting to scam elderly folks. A federal crime to be doing that across state lines and via USPS. Nothing may come of it but if enough complaints get passed along, perhaps the dirt bags may get caught.

    1. The Treasury Department is already on this scam. I went to their website and filed all the information available to me.

      Always good to report these ba$tards.

  3. Nigerians part of a scam? Those upstanding righteous souls? Oh yea of little faith! Racisss..

    1. I know, I know. I'm incorrigible.

      Perhaps "unreconstructed" describes me as well.

  4. You know--and I guess this comes with the territory because one needs educated, intelligent people to be good scam artists--but most of the Nigerian physicians and RNs in America my wife knows and works with are well-educated, first-rate professionals who want NOTHING to do with American black "culture." (Thank the legacy of the British Colonial educational system)

    1. I would agree with that Virgil.

    2. OT VX, I got a could not deliver notice on your email so I also sent it to the other account you sent Sarge. Hopefully you received it.

  5. This is also a pet peeve of mine. I think our government should clamp down on these assholes. They are preying on the old of which I am one and we are all heading in that direction. They are no better than someone waiting in the parking lot at night with a lead pipe to rob a lady with a cane of her purse. The only difference is the lady with the cane can fight back and kick butt.

    1. Exactly!

      They are scum, no nicer way to put it.

  6. @juvat/

    GOT it! @ my wife's account--yahoo has been acting up lately--will troubleshoot & will reply w. details later

  7. "Ello..I am calling about your Microsoft Windows computer... it has virus on it and is sending out messages.." (How do I type in a Pakistani accent?) OK, this is so legit. "Which computer?" The fun begins. Good for about 20 minutes of entertainment. It helps that my ISP is in no way related to or linked to my landline number. We play Name that ISP and What is My IP Address. Dear God, how is this idiot breathing? He is short more than a few brain cells. After wasting his time for a while he STILL wants to keep going. Even after "No one here is stupid enough to fall for your scam!"
    I DO actually do this for a living (IT). I just wish I had a horn to blast the receiver with so he would suffer at least a little. Dreadful Scum indeed.

    1. An air horn, like those on a semi. That is brilliant!

      (Good question of how does one type something to simulate an accent. Now I have something to think about!)

  8. It IS sad how many people fall for these scams and it's not just the elderly. I've know a number of what are normally
    young, intelligent and educated people that have been hooked by some these scams because the scams are on the
    web and they looked very official. Some folks just have to learn the hard way.

    We also have a landline but we do have a good reason for it's existence. My son and his family live in Germany and
    we learned a long time ago that it's a lot cheaper when they want to call and talk to the CO (not me, I'm just the
    enlisted workforce in this outfit) on a landline than it is talking cell to cell.

    1. I have a hard time trusting online content. Even if the website looks official. Even as I was typing stuff into the Treasury website to report the scam, I kept looking at the URL to make sure it was correct. Geez....

      Now that you mention it, The Missus Herself uses the landline to phone home.

      I am getting old.

    2. We got a land line in FL because the folks at the end of a 911 call can't tell what apartment you're in when you call from a multi unit place such as ours. Plus, it works during a power outage. I figure $30/month insurance policy. It's a local number, whereas our cells are still in CA. Should change that too, I suppose. I wouldn't even want to be associated with official things in CA, even to that extent.

    3. Another good reason to keep a landline.

      What were we talking about?

    4. My wife worked for AT&T for a while. Had one of her customers come in and relate a tragic story. She and her husband lived out in the country, near the county line. He was out in the barn and had a heart attack. Dialed 911, but collapsed before he could pass any location information. The operator got the location from the cell tower, but it was a further tower. He passed away before they got there.

    5. !!!!!!!!!!!

      I am keeping the landline!

  9. Forget the Nigeriastanis and the Pakigerians. What is this "refund" thingy?

    1. Something I used to get. That's what a refund is...

    2. Send them EVERYTHING, they will return change, if need be.

    3. Capital idea Dave! That's really what they want.

  10. It IS sad how many fall for it... sigh...


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)