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IRS Scam targets Local Businesses and Orange County Residents


Actual Phone Message left on answering machine in the Orange County area.


This is a recording of a message that they have been using to get people to call them back.  The scam is still going on.  It sounds kind-of official compared to the guy who was calling before.  



Orange County hit with IRS Scam

ORANGE COUNTY, CA  Residents have been receiving threatening calls and e-mails form purported IRS agents.  The threat works like this.  An authoritative well spoken agent explains that he or she is from the Internal Revenue Service.  They have discovered a mistake on a previous tas release and you need to get money over to them NOW otherwise a lawsuit will be filed against you or your business.  Because of the urgency, you need to wire the money TODAY.  The people sound legit, and they are calling from a phone with a DC area code, and some have spoofed Caller ID's indicating they are calling from the Internal Revenue Agency.

The scammer who left a message did not make a specific threat.  But apparently they have started talking on recorded lines because either they don't care if they are exposed.  The phone with a 202 area code could be anywhere--even outside the United States.  OC is a target rich environment because of our relatively high immigrant population who may not know how things work in this country, and can be scared to death when someone from the government threatens deportation.  

Local Business man Ken Calof was unaware of the scam when he answered the call.  

I received a call and a message on my home answering machine claiming to be the IRS with a case number to reference.  I caller ID showed that it was the IRS but they left me a (415) number to call them back on.  When I called they told me that I had been investigated for Tax Fraud and that while they did not believe I did this intentionally, I owed a fine, faced prison time and having my drivers license suspended.  When I asked for further detail they said that they would transfer me to the investigator handling my case. 

To distill down my conversation with the investigator, he told me that I owed the IRS $2,300 and that if I did not pay it by 1:00pm a warrant would be issued for my arrest on Monday and the penalty would go to $7,000 which I could pay over the phone with a prepaid credit card.   I told the investigator that I needed to contact my attorney and CPA and that I would call him back. I called the IRS and they told me to expect a call from a fake Police Officer and that the phone number for the Police would show on my caller ID. The real IRS had me talk to the Treasury Department to tell them everything I knew. I did not receive a call back, I think because I told them I was calling my Lawyer but the IRS told me it is the fastest growing scam in America and that people are losing thousands of dollars.

Mr. Calof became suspicious because he has dealt with the agency before and knows that it takes a while to talk to someone who can resolve your tax issues.  He also knows that the IRS does not take payments over the phone, and communicate via the postal mail.  

This appears to be a well rehearsed scam.  The IRS has stated many times that they do not operate that way.  As explained in a press release from October 2013 they have access to the last four digits of your SSN.  They also have American sounding names, and fake ID numbers.  And they may tell you to call back on the IRS toll-free number and ask for them by name--it's a fake 800 number.

We can assume the reason this scam keeps going on is that most people do not have experience dealing with the IRS.  And in the some of home countries of our immigrant population tax authorities may actually contact you directly and demand money.   

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article

IRS Press Release

Protecting yourself and Family from the IRS Telemarketing Scam.

  • Buy an Answering Machine.  This is especially helpful for some older folks who may just become more trusting overtime.
  • Ask for something in the US Mail.  Sending Scam material through the US Mail may result in a federal crime and be investigated by postal inspectors.  Scammers do not want to do this.  
  • Visit or call your local IRS office to verify any information.
  • The real Toll Free Number for the IRS is 800 829-1040
  • Don't Wire Money.  The real IRS takes checks.
  • Don't give credit card/debit card/account numbers information over the phone.  Again the real IRS takes checks.  Unlike a check or credit card charge, once you wire money it's gone.  There is no way to get it back if you've been defrauded.  And it's hard for the police to trace.

Comments on IRS Scam Phone Calls

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A reader let us know that she received calls from the fake IRS agent, and now she is receiving calls from US Immigration Services.  They have managed to spoof the real phone number and caller id.  When you look up 800 767-1833 the real USCIS website shows up.  Looks like it's part of the same scam.

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