You answer the telephone just like you always do, but this time there is a rather stern sounding person on the other side telling you that you owe a good deal of money to the IRS and if you don’t pay it today you will either be sued or the sheriff will come to your door to haul you off to jail to await your criminal trial. Your heart leaps to your throat as you consider the terrible things about to happen to you – and then you remember a good friend of yours telling you about this silly website with ‘off the wall’ posts on things related to, but not just about, taxes. You remember reading about a scam that was going around where people like you got a phone call and were ordered by the IRS to go to a Wal*Mart and buy a green dot (or whatever the name of their prepaid debit card is) card for a decent amount of money – and that the post you read said to calmly tell them that you have an Enrolled Agent and that they (the caller) should simply look at your tax return to find the EA’s telephone number and call them – so that’s what you do – and the person on the other end gets very agitated and begins screaming that the Sheriff is probably walking up your sidewalk as you are talking – and you chuckle to yourself and hang up.
Yes, the IRS is warning everyone again about this IRS phone call scam that is still persisting, in spite of some pretty serious efforts on their part to warn people. Since October 2013, it is estimated that nearly 736,000 phone calls have been made and have been successful in fleecing over 4,500 taxpayers out of approximately $23,000,000.00 (yep, lots of 0’s) – but lets break that down somewhat – dividing it out, the phone calls are successful .6% of the time (that is 6/10 of one percent for those with an old monitor, a small smart phone or failing eyesight) – which doesn’t sound good at all – I don’t know of any sales person willing to continue to work with that kind of a success rate. However, when you divide out the amount we are talking about, we find that they are averaging over $31 FOR EACH OF THEIR PHONE CALLS. All of a sudden it makes perfect sense, right? On average, every time they (well, their robo-dialer) picks up the phone, they are looking at making $31 – so, how many phone calls can YOU make in a day, if you average $31 for each one? Yeah, me too.
The latest article about these phone calls was published in the Detroit Free Press and appears HERE. The math was my idea, since I love analyzing all the ways numbers come together, and tell a whole story.
Speaking of the ‘Devil’ I just got one of those IRS phone calls here at the office – no, you just can’t make this kind of stuff up! Now if you will excuse me, I have to go to Wal*Mart. . .