Saturday , 20 October 2018
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IRS Lawsuit Phone Scam – It Happened To Us!

ALERT: If you receive an automated phone call from the IRS or someone claiming to be the IRS, it is NOT the IRS.

There has been a known scam running for almost 2 years where people are receiving calls claiming that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against them.

The IRS will not attempt to reach you by phone, they will do so only through the mail.  They will not use scare tactics or demand money, nor threaten to bring in law enforcement.  They will not require a specific payment method for taxes.

This is not really a “malware” article per se, however we here at the website were recently attempted victims of a phony “IRS” phone call.  This particular phone phishing scam has apparently been going on for about a year and a half, and unfortunately many people are falling for it as the perpetrators use extremely aggressive scare tactics.

It Started With An Automated Phone Call From The “IRS”

This morning I received a call from a 347 area code number that appeared to be from New York.  That is my state of residence and so that was one reason I thought it might be legitimate.  I didn’t listen to the voicemail right away, but about an hour or two later I received a call and voicemail from the same number.  Thinking it must be important, I listened to the voicemail.  I heard an automated, American sounding female voice saying “this is to inform you that the IRS is filing lawsuit against you.  For more information on this case file please call our department number at 347 xxx xxxx.  Thank you.”

My heart definitely fell through the floor.  I immediately started to question what I could have done wrong, then worried that my accountant had somehow screwed up my taxes.  It was a scary message to hear.  I was preparing to either call the number or call my accountant, when a small voice in the back of my head told me to Google it.  I don’t know what I was looking for, perhaps information about other people having something similar happen to them–I didn’t think it was a scam.

Well, much to my relief the number one result in Google was information that this type of call is absolutely a scam.  I went through relief, and then some anger that they caused me stress.  I couldn’t resist calling back out of curiosity to see what they would say, and maybe get a bit of harmless revenge.

Some Harmless Revenge

I dialed the number and the first time it was busy.  The second time it rang, but rang forever.  Nobody picked up.  Called again.  Busy.  Called again.  This time a woman with a thick Indian accent answered the phone and asked me to give my name.  I asked if I could get her name first.  She gave an American sounding name (that I can’t remember) and told me she was with the IRS.  I asked her to prove to me that she was from the IRS.  I heard an audible frustrated exhalation from the other end of the line and, *click*, she hung up on me.

Well, that was fun but much too short.  I called again and got a different woman, same sounding accent.  She asked for my telephone number, and I asked her if she knew she was scamming people out of thousands of dollars.  Silence, for a bit, then she quietly said I don’t understand.  I asked her if she spoke English, and that she should understand me if she actually worked for the IRS.  Silence.

I said I was reporting them to the FTC immediately and she should walk out of there if she didn’t want to get arrested (a little payback for the scare tactics they seem to be inflicting on people).  Then I told them never to call me again.  She responded with a “you don’t know anything, [expletive]” and then hung up on me.  It actually sounded like she was going to cry, so maybe I got to her conscience a little bit.  Hopefully she will quit that job and find something a bit less criminal to do with her time.

While satisfying, I doubt they will stop the scam anytime soon because of me.  So for now, I hope you find this page (or any of the other sites out there reporting the truth about this scam) before you end up giving any money to these criminals.

Different Techniques And Messages

We have been receiving a lot of comments from people saying “I keep getting calls from the IRS!”

These calls come with a variety of different techniques.  Some will be from a live person.  Others will use an automated message telling you to call the number.  They all use fake similar names, and sometimes claim to be detectives rather than IRS agents.  They will sometimes claim that there is an arrest warrant pending and that your property or address is under investigation.  Often they have identifying information about the victim to make them seem more legitimate, such as the last four digits of their social security number, their address, or their phone number.

If you DID get a phone call from these guys, you can report your experience to the FTC and the US Treasury.  I’m not exactly sure what they are doing to stop them as they appear to be operating overseas and using numbers designed to look like they are coming from the United States.  However, it’s the best you can do for now.  Unfortunately local police likely won’t take a report.

Let friends and family know about the scam as well, especially those that are likely to fall victim to the scheme.  I posted about the scam on social media right after I hung up with them.  The more people that know about this, the better.  Those who might be vulnerable to this scam are the elderly and immigrants who do not understand the IRS or how US law enforcement works and are already nervous about doing anything wrong.

For more information you can read the FTC Consumer Blog post about the scam and some information on how to proceed.

UPDATE: I continue to get multiple calls from these scam artists from different numbers, sometimes twice in one day.  The only thing that I did when I noticed a new wave of these calls was that I had registered for a new domain.  I do believe that these con artists are scraping people’s numbers from various sources, and I believe that new domain name signups are one source.

Did this happen to you?  Leave a comment below and tell us what happened and what the caller’s tactics were.

About Bill Gordon

Bill Gordon has been writing on tech and malware subjects for 6 years and has been working in the internet and tech industry for over 15 years. He currently lives in Southern California.

51 comments

  1. I am tired of getting phone calls or last minute phone calls about a lawsuit being fueled against me it’s getting to be annoying the phone number is (281)205-5806 and I’m tired of this.

  2. Helen Wiels LOL

    Just got my call from the IRS 631-412-7015. Officer Michael Clark, with a very thick accent, informed me I had 90 minutes to resolve my IRS issue. I told him my name was Helen Wiels (get it?) and gave him the zip code of an area in California that is currently on fire. I was going to use that fire to make things difficult for him, but then he put me on hold, came back and told me my name was “wrong”. He said I had to go to my local IRS office to resolve my issue and hung up on me.

  3. They are calling from 347 area code and left 2 messeges telling me I have someone pressing 3 charges against me. If I don’t call them back they will be a warrant smh. It’s the same foreign guy both times.

  4. I received a call from Houston area code phone number. This woman proceeded to tell me I had an arrest warrant out for tax fraud. Once I called back she asked me to verify certain things, of which many I gave her wrong. She gave me her badge number says she works for the IRS as an agent and then I would be arrested by the local sheriff with in the next couple days. I asked her a couple of simple questions. Then I asked her for her office address so I could come to their office and blow their fucking heads off with all of my explosives and guns. She hung up for some reason. I then proceeded to call that number back 30 times within 10 minutes. I constantly do rated them with racial slurs , calling these people every name in the book I could think of and even making up a few. I threatened to come to their office. I even threatened to come to her house set it on fire chainsaw her legs off and laugh as she crawled her bloody stumps out of her burning house. Fuck these people! These are the lowest of the low. I don’t give two shits what happens, I will search until I can find someone responsible and have that man or woman drawn and quartered

  5. Got a call from 347-408-0465 trying to pull this scam. Apparently when I get home there is going to be a police officer to arrest me, my bank balances have been frozen, and the government is going to seize my vehicles and home over an alleged $6,798. Oh and I’m going to be sued for $45,000 for criminal charges.

    The entire time I knew it was a scam and little did they know they were trying to scam a CPA who happens to know one or two things about the IRS. I basically wasted as much time of Mr. Fictional Ryan Cooper’s time as possible so he has less time to scam other people. I would constantly read him back his case number wrong, ask him how to spell Internal Revenue Service, and even threw out things such as well can I please give you my Blockbuster Debit Card number? He eventually caught on after 40 minutes and threatened me saying I better have a great lawyer. Of course I reported this to the FTC and IRS scam line.

    These guys are slick and I now understand how they can rattle someones chain who is not informed. They throw out bogus badge numbers, case numbers, section codes, etc. etc. Don’t fall for it. The IRS will always send you info via mail. Waste their time as long as possible if you have it. Luckily I needed a good stress relief and laugh.

    Oh hope when I get home tonight there isn’t a summons on the door and I’m broke because my bank funds are garnished 🙂

  6. I just got a call from 347 298 9081 name Michael Barone. Very garbled robo call, woman’s voice. But one of the audible phrases was police at your door. Definately a scam. Don’t know if this is IRS scam , or one of these collection scams. Have had both in the past.

  7. Melanie Johnson

    I just received a phone call from a lady with a foreign accent, saying she was with the IRS, and the IRS had issued a active warrant for my arrest!! She said that i was bein investigated for tax fraud!! I was told that i had to come to washinton, dc and hire a criminal lawyer, that i was looking at 5 years in the federal pen if i didnt pay what i owed!! She told me that i had to call her back tommorow evening at 4:00, with $500.00!!! She said her name was Stacy, and i spoke with a guy named Stephen, and he had a foreign accent also!! She gave my maiden name, but i filed my taxes under my married name!! It scared me until i read all the other stories!! She called with a 630 area code!!!

  8. I just had this happen to me minutes ago! I googled like you did with my heart racing! This is awful!! I can’t believe they still haven’t been stopped!!! I was SO relieved to find your article. I shared it on Facebook!

  9. I just received a call not more than 30 minutes ago. The numbers they use are generated by Google Voice #’s. Easy to st-up, use, and “burn”. I called back a few times until someone answered. It was a male voice with Indian accent. He was able to look up my number, found my real name attached to it and tried to pronounce my name, but could not. I entered into the conversation with a heavy southern accent and gave him a made up name and that I had no idea who he was talking about. He tried to ask me other questions, I pretended to be Sh*tting my pants and being super frustrated “and stuff”. After sometime, he ended up hanging up on me.

  10. Just received a similar call today. These people are now calling from 518-772-05544, same verbiage and scenario.

  11. I RECIEVED THE SAME CALL.it read exactly as the scam word by word dont these people have something beter to do.then harrase people out of $$$$.i didnt owe any money .IT WAS A 305 AREA CODE.I LOOKED UP THE IRS NUMBER AND IT WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.BUT I DID GET SCARED

  12. My friend keeps getting calls from these two numbers 347-861-6029 and 347-861-6029 about her owing the irs money. I called the guy back told him I was from the US Marshall’s office and I needed his address. He gladly gave me it somewhere in Brooklyn NY on
    Pennsylvania Ave, Brooklyn, NY

    here is another number 631-520-7498

  13. I say immediately “So you want Amazon Prime free with your paid subscription ,GREAT now give me 2 credit card numbers”the get louder ” I said I want 2 of your credit card numbers now ! “

  14. They have been calling my 88 yo mother for a weeek now and it is taking everything I have to convince her to not be scared. They have hacked her phone number so when she would receive the calls, it showed her number as calling. She didn’t realize that. Today they called and she didn’t answer so they left a vm to call them back at 347-298-3279. Now that I finally found this I’m hoping I can convince her the authorities will not be coming to pick her up. I finally got her to not answer calls on her cell phone if it doesn’t show a name. That’s how we got the voicemail. She has really been scared by these calls. She hasn’t paid taxes in years because of her low income via SS so she was scared she was supposed to be paying. I would love to get my hands around someone’s neck for messing with my Momma!!!

  15. I just received a fraudulent call as well. Caller ID showing from a different number than those mentioned above (240)230-3346, but the recording was the same. I called them back… the person that answered was definitely not from the US. I told him I was going to report them and he actually asked me “why”. LOL

  16. I received a similar call today from 518-772-1198. Claiming 4 Serious allegations against me. That if I do not call back with 24 hours, local COPS will arrest me.

  17. These folks are still at it. I got a call form 347 589 8003 today (20-March-2018). Like the author, I called three separate times and spoke with 3 people. The first time I called they hung up when I asked they work for the Internal Revenue Service. The 2nd time I hung, then decided to call back a 3rd time to try to get more information so I could report this. I asked for a supervisor, and the guy put me on hold, then came back on. They said they twice mailed a letter to me that required my signature, and that this was my last chance to respond before they file a lawsuit against me. Each person I spoke with on the three calls had what I would call a strong Indian/Pakistani accent (that is the best characterization I can give it), and they were hard to understand. I asked the 3rd caller where he was calling from, and he said New York. I asked him if he worked for the IRS division of the US Government, he said yes. I’ve reported them to the Inspector General but I doubt anything will happen. They will keep it up until forced to close up for awhile, then resurface like mold in the shower. Don’t get taken.

  18. A 347 area code has posted on Orange County, CA Craigslist. Says work is available in Santa Ana tomorrow.
    Pays $80. Ad says to text or email. I emailed but never got a reply. Before texting today I googled area code and found this scam stuff. There is even an address listed for the work. I did a street view of address but a bus is blocking the building. Don’t think I wil go.

  19. Cherridy Tucker

    I just recieved a call from 347# say Im part of a irc investigation and being sued from taking out loans… I instructed her NICE TRY I dont do loans… She attempted to get rude BUT I shut her down faster than our Electric service will do someone with a unpaid bill… I explained to her that although she is from another country EVERYTHING i say will be translated in english… And commenced to curse her from a_z.

  20. I was called yesterday 2/14/2018 that i have a lawsuit against me from the IRS

  21. Similar call (216) area code. They claimed to be IRS (INLAND SECURITY) claimed I owed $1400 in back taxes and how would I like to make payment? I asked what the IRS had to do with Inland Security. I was told since I had not answered their mail they had sent Inland Security to my house to arrest me since there was a warrant issued in my name. I kept asking the person to repeat themselves because their English was terrible. i finally asked for someone who spoke English. I was transferred to “Jose” in “Homeland Security”. In my best Spanish I asked him to explain what was going on. BAM, I was transferred again. This time in my best French I asked him to the same question. He said, I don’t understand, do you speak English? I answered yes I do and appearantly better than you. Do you speak Punjabi? He answered yes. I said well I don’t. Caller hung up. Haven’t heard from them since

  22. I got a call in Fall 2016 and had them on the line for about 45 minutes. They thought I was walking to a 7-11 to get a money order. I had just moved and it was an area code near where I used to live, which is why I answered.

    I got another call today, but I let it go to voicemail. I thought the automated message was them, so I called back and sure enough, so I just said, “Just making sure it’s you guys thanks.”

    But I mean, there’s info on this going back as far as 2013.

  23. I just got a robo call today telling me the IRS was suing me for Fraud and they have a warrant out for my arrest I didn’t do anything at all and couldn’t perpetrate fraud if I had to. Scammer call I knew automatically I did not even bother to call the number because I know the IRS doesn’t call people on the phone and threaten them and they only contact by mail.

  24. Yes I got a call today automated so bring the curious sort I called back. This guy with a Russian accent picked up and I told him listen stop calling me he proceeds to tell me his irs speech and I said what’s your name? Of course he gives me an American name and I said you’re Russian. He admitted it then tells me he wants to have sex with me and marry me and he has lots of money. By this time I’m rolling on the floor and I tell him I don’t think IRS agents talk to people like that. Seriously I was having way too much fun. After he got really nasty I hung up. It was at least entertaining lol.

  25. Oh these scam phone calls are getting out of hand. Everyday I get solicited about the IRS, grants to go back to school, mail scams, email scams… its so abundant and people are still falling for it. It seems having thing should be questioned these days before providing any information. Thank you for your article and the reminder that we should be vigilant about our money and personal information. Its amazing that there is an industry in another country that is built on scamming Americans!

    http://www.cfasecurity.com

  26. Scott Shepherd

    They’re back. I received the exact same call as people are describing from a number out of South Dakota 605-252-5361.
    “Of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing lawsuit against you to get more information about this case file please call immediately on our department number 605-252-5361 I repeat 605-252-5361 thank you”

  27. Jackson Wallace

    What it really needs is for some nerd to find and publish the names/addresses of these time-wasting arseholes aso that someone else can go around there with a baseball bat…or a shotgun!

  28. I have had at least 30 of these calls in the last 2 weeks from area codes 202 , 347, 613 and a couple of others I tried to call 1 back said it could not complete the call from my mobile phone said I must call from a land line I haven’t had a land line since 95 also it was from Canada I am about ready to change my phone number I did get one answer on one of the 202 numbers I could not understand the person that answered the call but he called me a son of a bitch f__k then hung up on me

  29. Oh my f*cking god. How STUPID can these people get!?!? I live in New Zealand, and I got this phone call. NEW ZEALAND. Here in Kiwi Kountry, we have the IRD (Inland Revenue Department, same function as the Inland Revenue Service) but they managed to f*ck that one up, too. Somehow, they got a country on the other side of the IDL in thier scheme, and it’s f*cking pathetic. American Government filing a lawsuit against me…my *ss.

  30. Stacie chennault

    I am a single mom that put an ad on craigslist for anyone that may have an older vehicle that they would be willing to donate to a single mom desperately in need of transportation. Being that I live in a very small town that does not have taxis or buses. I got this text from a 347 # that had an amazing offer. Wants to help me by giving me this car and in return donate money to an orphanage that is out of the country. They said that they were from Missouri but when I googled the 347# it says it is from NY. I knew it was too good to be true.

  31. I received one of these calls just ten minutes ago they stated that they were calling on behalf of the treasury dept and that I was being notified of a large sum of money that was owed to me by them and asked me call the treasury at 347-618-1215 I googled it as well and reversed phone lookup and its BS

  32. I received a call from the “IRS” with a recording instructing me to call 347-618-6240. I called and a person with a Mid-Eastern accent said that it was the IRS and asked for my address to look up my case. I gave him the address, and he said that I owed the IRS and that there was a warrant for my arrest unless I resolved it today. I told him that I file my taxes every year, but I would call back. I then exhausted much time trying to get through to the local IRS number in the phone book. I also called the police station about the “warrant”. The IRS (when I finally got through) told me I should report this to the Attorney General’s office. The police said the same thing. I am very angry at these weird & threatening scam calls. I have had a heart attack in the past and certainly do not need this anxiety. Now I will know better, but it angers me, all the same.

  33. I also received the phone call and it was very upsetting because I did not know about the scam they told me that they were seizing my property and that there was a warrant rest out for me at that time I was so upset and crying and everything he gave he has information on addresses and phone numbers and recent phone calls and everything they know your whole life story they just Google you when they pause and tell you that they’re looking up the information they are Googling you and that’s how they get your information from social media by the end of the phone call he said that he was dropping the suit and that I do not have to worry about the police this showing up at my door I immediately called my sister afterwards and told her and she told me that it was a scam I did not give these people any money because I am Social Security disability but beware anybody that tells you that they are with the IRS it’s fake I have been told by the IRS that they will send you a letter in the mail and they were actually to come to one of their local offices to sit down and discuss the matter and make payment arrangements and with that being said all I have to say is do not take any phone calls from a 347 area code because it is a fake call

    • I have gotten 5 calls in the last 2 days from 347 area code on my cell phone. I usually get these calls on our home phone and disregard them. So today I called back. She said this is IRS, can I help you? I said I’d like to know why you are calling my cell phone, She said “none of your business.” I said it was none if her business and remove my number. She said ” f___ you bitch!! And hung up!!!

    • Sylvia Esteves

      I received a call last night from tel. 832-307-0200 which scared me to death. Officer O’Connor identified himself with badge no. 80995 and indicated there was a court case filed for fraud against the govt. During the call I provided last four digits of my SS no. He had my name and address. Then I noticed an Indian accent which did not match the O’Connor last name and said I would call my lawyer inmediately followed by a threat that I would be taken into custody within the next 30 minutes and he then hung up. I was shaking so badly. As a precaution I immediately contacted main credit bureaus and my bank so they have an alert.

  34. I received a call from the “IRS” yesterday as follows; “This message is intended for Frank xxxxxx. This is Megan Dan calling from the investigation department of the internal revenue service. The reason I’m giving you a call today is to notify you, as well as to make you aware about a legal case that has been filed under your name. So before we go ahead and proceed with the case in a legal way, I want you to give me a call back as soon as possible and my department call back number, which is at 347 539-8505. (repeated twice) If I don’t receive a call back from your end, then forcefully, we need to quote this case legally in the court house. Before we do that, please make sure to give us a call back. Thank you.”
    Obviously, English is not their first language. And, as you pointed out, the IRS does not make phone calls. They do all of their business by mail. I would like to see these people caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

  35. Whew, thank god I found this article. I was freaking out all day after receiving three calls from what I’m assuming is the same Indian woman you described above. So thanks for writing this! Really calmed me down 😀

    • For sure Chris! I know the feeling – glad we could help.

    • I received a phone call from 3479901447 said if i did not call back in 1 hour fbi would be at my door to arrest me for back taxes it was a roboso i panic and called back indian sounding woman could hear other people talking in background told her nothing accept have not worked in 15 years to 20 because of cancer she had my address i wonder if when i filled out coupon web sight if she got my number

  36. I just got a call from a 347 number. This time they claimed they represented my ISP and that they had received complaints about me because my email address was sending out Spam and that charges were pending against me. The scams they come up with for extorting money are amateur and they make laugh. Next time I get a call from one of these numbers I will turn the tables on them and have some fun of my own.

  37. I also did Google search and got this page before returning the suspicious call. Thanks for helping out.

  38. I received that same voicemail this morning . Panicked I immediately Called back, response was I was calling a wrong number .. I told my husband he said look up the IRS, I did.. Nothing of that sort .. So I google and found its a scam happening to many.. Now I’m relieved , but now I’m pissed that they are trying to scam me ..

  39. Melberta Hogenmiller

    I want them to Quit calling me the number is 206 317 1467 he wasn’t from our Country and really could not understand him if I don’t pay they were going to take my house

  40. Mike Stevenson

    I also recently discovered they or possibly another group is doing something similiar via email. They sent an email claiming I owed money for a loan (which I dont) and that if I didn’t contact them for payment arrangement they would sue me and also contact the IRS, claiming I hadn’t paid taxes on this “loan”. Failure to contact them within 24 hours will result in this action. Who can I report this to? Same as above? Also kinda scary, they had my roommates SSN, in full. BTW, I’ve also received two of these calls from 347 Area Code in last 2 days.

  41. I just got a call. Your description of the caller was perfect. It was exactly like mine. After I calmed down, I did a google search and thankfully this page came up. Thanks.

  42. Ahhhh…I get these calls all the time….and now I treat them as stress relief.

    How? Easy! Settle down in a comfortable chair, and call them back, but don’t forget to black your caller id.

    Now, when they ask for your phone number give them the phone number of your local IRS office. Once you have them hooked get them to go over the details of how they wan you to pay etc.

    One you have killed about 30 minutes of their time let them know you are really an IRS fraud inspector and their call was traced and recorded.

    They will hang up and the number disconnected within minutes….

    Great fun.

    • Haha, good one Mr. Kemp

    • They are still trying to scam people. I got the call yesterday and I knew my taxes was paid up but it still scares you. I was thinking my accountant had screwed something up. To my relief I found this site and know I know what’s going on.

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