I received a phone call this morning from the following phone number in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: (717) 331-0549. Because I did not recognize the number and I most certainly was not expecting a call from Pennsylvania, I ignored it. Unlike the typical telemarketers who hang up, lo and behold, there was a message. I thought it might actually be a real person wanting to hire me to work an event. Unfortunately, the message was a computerized recording; it was a serious-sounding woman’s voice. I would love to share this message with you and provide you with my insight into the lovely worldwide business of phishing and scamming.
The message was:
“Hello. This call is officially your final notice from IRS, Internal Revenue Service. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department number (717) 331-0549. I repeat (717) 331-0549. Thank you.”
For anyone who might have a moment of panic because they have never had dealings with the IRS other than filing tax returns, here are a few gentle reminders about how to recognize a phishing/scamming operation:
- The IRS will never call you. They will send you a lovely letter via USPS letting you know you that you are more than likely being audited.
- The IRS would never instigate a lawsuit without having notified you previously.
- The phone message never identifies you personally. The message starts with “Hello!”
- The grammar and script of the message is not in American English even though the voice may sound American.
I do not recommend returning the call. Even if you are curious, or want to mess with the offshore people who are employed to scam you, there is no guaranty that you will get satisfaction from doing so, and it might muck up your karma as well. Most of these scammers are out of the country and their operations have become very sophisticated. It reminds me of when I call Dell or some other electronic, technical support department. The offshore person I talk to is either sitting in a cubical or sitting smack dab next to someone else with very little elbow room. As to the U.S. phone number, well, I cannot comment. They have their ways of messing with our heads.
Stay safe, stay informed, and if you happen to pick up the call and it switches to a live person, tell them you will report them and hang up.