|"Home of the Internal Revenue Service" by Joshua Doubek - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons (Source)|
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."
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time (and you knew there would be a third time) was, "Uh Sarge, you forgot to include this income and that deduction is no longer valid.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?