Does the IRS call from blocked numbers?
November 24, 2010 6:09 PM Subscribe
Does the IRS call from blocked numbers? (Scam attempt details inside)
We got a call this evening (after hours on the eve of a holiday) on our home phone from a blocked number ("Private name, Private Number") from a "Mrs. Russell" claiming to be calling from the IRS and asking for me by name. As my spouse handed me the phone, I accidentally disconnected the call. A minute later she called my cell phone number (which showed the caller as "Blocked"), again asking for me by name and introducing herself as Mrs. Russell. She gave me an agent number (which I neglected to write down, flustered as I was) and then immediately asked me to give her my address and social security number "to verify my information", which of course set off all kinds of warning bells.
When I said I was not comfortable giving my address or social security number over the phone she said "I understand, if you prefer you can call us back tonight or on Friday at 1-800-829-3903, but if you choose to call us back you may have to wait on hold for 30-45 minutes. If you want to verify your information with me then you won't have to wait."
I told her I would call the number back and she said "That's fine, Have a Happy Thanksgiving, have a good night, sir."
A quick Google search for the number turns up dozens (hundreds?) of other reports pretty much exactly like this; generally agreeing that it's a scam. However, there are also a few reports saying "It's a legit IRS number. I called back and they had mixed up my contact info with someone else's account, but I got it straightened out."
The phone number does appear on the IRS' web site, and when I called it I got a standard "Thank you for calling the Internal Revenue Service. Our office is now closed, please call back during normal business hours" voice recording.
I know of no reason the IRS should be contacting me, and find it very doubtful that any legitimate call from them would
1. Come from a blocked number, and
2. Ask me for my SSN.
This is nothing more than a scam using just enough factual/official sounding information to seem plausible, right? The legit IRS phone number was just to make me think "Oh, well if she's giving me a call-back number then it must be legit. I'll just give her this information now so I don't have to wait on hold when I call back!"
I will probably call the IRS' main 800 number on Friday for my own peace of mind and to report the scam attempt, but my core question here is, would the IRS ever call from a blocked number after business hours?
(Asked anonymously out of heightened paranoia.)