Public Enemy #1

If you don’t hear from me for a while, it’s because of this call I received TWICE today:

“Hi. This is the tax crime investigation unit of IRS. The reason you are receiving this prerecorded message is to notify you that IRS has issued an arrest warrant against you. Right now you and your physical property both are being monitored and it’s very important that I do hear back from you as soon as possible before we proceed further in any legal manner. My direct callback number is 918-215-9125. Again the number is 918-215-9125. Thank you.”

First of all…”Hi”? Really?

Image result for irs phone call scamsSecond of all, I so want to call that number and see what the deal is. But as I know this is bullshit, and I don’t know about their technological capabilities, I don’t want them having my number come up on caller ID. Perhaps from a payphone…

No exaggeration, the phone must have rung at least eight times today. Thank goodness for caller ID; I never answer 800 numbers and pretty much have the same attitude towards any number I don’t recognize.

I have long lamented the state of society these days in which every other advertisement on the all-news station to which I listen seems to be some way of separating the listener from his or her money. You know the type (paraphrasing here but the sentiment is wholly accurate):

  • “If you have been injured, we can get you money…”
  • “If you have been offered a settlement, we can get you more money…”
  • “We can cure your pain from fill-in-the-blank…”
  • My old favorite: “If you or someone you know has died…”
  • My new favorite: “If you’re suffering from cancer and are running out of money, we can give you up to 50 percent of your life insurance death benefits…”

One person I find particularly annoying is Patricia McCann, a “radio personality” in the New York area. According to the page on her via

Patricia McCann is the personality commercial spokesperson for 1010 WINS. She has endorsed product on the station since 1992. Her delivery is uniquely personal and credible – she only advertises product she has tried and believes in – a McCann family tradition.

“The personality commercial spokesperson?” Is that what she puts on her resume? Does the “the” mean she’s the only one? The New York Times did a profile on McCann back in 2004, delving into her impressive radio pedigree and noting

For her commercials, which are occasionally broadcast in other parts of the country, she says she samples and researches every product. She has lost eight pounds on the Zone Diet, guzzled Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and stopped at an Aamco shop in New Jersey to learn that a car transmission has 700 parts. “How’s a girl to know?” she asked.

Pretty neat these days to have the same job for 25 years. Needless to say, she’s done numerous other ads since 2004, from replacement windows to painting services.

I don’t want to get into demographics here, but I’m guessing the audience for the news station I listen to is not comprised of millennials. Perhaps McCann is a soothing voice from the older listeners’ pasts.

I’m also pretty sure the reason phone calls like this come during the day is that the companies behind these schemes are counting on the recipients to be house-bound, retired, or older and, perhaps not as hep to scams.

Image result for irs phone call scams

And I’m not even going to go into all the phishing that goes on via emails. I don’t know how many times I’ve told my family to never ever click on a link or download an attachment that looks suspicious, even if it’s from someone they supposedly know well. When I was working at the newspaper and saw something that looked a bit out of place, I would always send a note back to the originator asking if they had indeed sent the email and what was in the link/attachment. At least half the time, these were bogus missives.

I was going to write about this topic anyway after the Times ran this item — “From Wells Fargo to Fyre Festival, the Scam Economy Is Entering Its Baroque Phase” — in the May 21 Sunday Magazine. But today’s phone calls gave me added motivation.

On the other hand, if I am about to be arrested by the IRS, please look for an entry about where to send the cake with the file inside.


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