Imagine if this happened to you. Joe Avery of South Bend, Indiana listened to the voicemail message the man left for him several times. A federal agent was letting him know that he was about to be named in a federal lawsuit and that sheriff's deputies were on their way to arrest him for five criminal allegations.
The serious-sounding agent ended the call with the following warning: "If you don't return the call, then the only thing I can do is. . . wish you good luck."
Avery should have been scared, except for one thing: he's a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen. He's also savvy enough to know when he's being scammed.
The call was a total fake. But thousands of people do not know and give in to the scammer's demands.
Phone scams that center around the IRS are nothing new, but they typically occur much earlier in the year, around tax season. And what sets this particular scam apart from the rest is the threatening tone that is used.
People who receive these calls are led to believe they'll be penalized, even imprisoned, if they don't satisfy the caller's demands.
Threatening calls from legitimate-sounding government organizations are on the rise. The goal of the caller is to catch you off-guard with a serious allegation.
Claiming to work for the IRS is an easy way for scammers to trick you into believing you could be hauled off to jail, or ruined financially for committing tax fraud. After all, it's easy to be afraid of the IRS.