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Swatted: When it doesn’t refer to bugs

The extended holiday weekend kicks off summer, but IRS phone scam artists don’t take a break. The simple warning is this: never argue with them and hang up right away. You need to know that IRS agents do not initiate contact with you over the phone.

Now for that title – “swatted” is when someone calls in a make-believe major crime to 911 that requires a SWAT response. In the Dallas-area, this happened to a family after they had been targeted by someone impersonating an IRS agent who had called them from a 1-800 number.

Here is what can happen

The aggrieved scammer placed a fake 911 call claiming that someone at the family’s residence had shot a neighbor and refused to put down the gun. Fifteen cop cars showed up at their home with guns drawn.

After police ordered everyone out of the house, they could find no victim. The angry scam artist had apparently swatted the family after they used some choice words to refuse a demand for an immediate payment of $5,000.

Investigators are looking for the person who made the call. Because these scams often originate from different countries, the culprit may never be caught. And some of the most sophisticated scams can spoof IRS phone numbers making it appear a revenue agent is really calling.

Resist the urge to argue

This was the first we have heard of a scam call escalating in this type of manner. And it emphasizes how important it is to end the call as quickly as possible.

If you do owe back taxes and are concerned about how you will resolve a past or ongoing issue, please contact a tax professional. The IRS has various collection and enforcement tools at its disposal, but they start with a lien on property and may progress to levy of assets or garnishment of wages. 

And remember a tax bill comes in the mail. No one is going to call and threaten your arrest if you do not immediately pay. There are options that can help.

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