Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

IRS Doesn't Leave Phone Messages

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

IRS Doesn't Leave Phone Messages

Article excerpt

Helen Podgainy of Sewickley came home recently from her pediatric practice in Coraopolis, heard the following message on her answering machine and wrote it down verbatim:

"Hello. This is an important message! So please, listen to the message carefully.

"This is the Final Notification Call from IRS. As there is a scrutiny going under your name with the Department of Internal Revenue Services.

"So as soon as you receive the message - to return the call - you can reach a live agent at [a toll-free number the caller repeated].

"And if we don't hear from you within the next 12 hours, this will be taken against you in a courthouse. And an arrest warrant would be issued against your name. So ... return the call.

"Thank you, and have a nice day."

Dr. Podgainy was amused."Don't you just love their closing sentence?" she said. "It's actually pretty funny," she added.

"They never say a name, mine or theirs, and their English is so stilted. I'm still waiting for the warrant to arrive. But it's not a joke if people really fall for such trash.

"To me, it was obvious that it was not legit, but some people must fall for it or [the callers] wouldn't keep doing it. I don't know why I keep getting targeted for these things; maybe it's my age [71]."

Dr. Podgainy said she considered "playing dumb and calling the number just to see what they say when someone calls," but decided against it because the callers then would have her phone number.

The message on her answering machine might have been a robo call. If you find such a call on your answering machine, delete it.

If you receive such a call when you answer the phone, hang up. If you receive such an email, delete it. The IRS uses regular mail to communicate with the public.

I forwarded to the Federal Communications Commission the toll- free number that had been left on Dr. Podgainy's phone.

Information: www.fcc.gov/complaints; 1-888-225-5322.

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