By Nathan Barton
The IRS Scam (No, not THAT one, another one)
No link to this one, but I recently received an e-mail from my dear US Representative in Congress (Kristi Noem, SD-00 (South Dakota only has ONE) warning me of a wave of scam calls and e-mails from people pretending to be the IRS in an attempt to steal money from us by getting our bank account or credit card information. The calls tell us that the IRS is getting ready to sue us, unless we immediately settle the problem.
Well, now, that is a pretty great e-mail. Pretty neat that instead of trying to get us to endorse some or the other policy or legislation, or tell us what a great job she’s doing, she is actually trying to be a good public servant.
What is interesting is that I’ve received a number of these bogus calls on my South Dakota phone numbers. In just the past few weeks (the Argus-Leader in Sioux Falls reports getting told of several hundred in just a week, to various people.) The calls (recordings) are seemingly identical, except for different numbers on caller-ID. Fortunately, in addition to all the no-no’s that we are warned about (pay over the phone, give your SSAN, give your account or credit-card numbers to “verify” your ID), there are a couple of features.
a. The caller ID identifies these as coming from a 202 (DC) phone number. That sets off some alarm bells, and can send a chill to those of us who know that area code (the Libertarian Party National Committee also shares that area code, as do a lot of lobbying groups). But the REAL IRS ™??? uses 800 numbers. However, the fact that the number showing up on caller ID is also the number that they tell you to call back on is an indication of (1) the sophistication of the scammers, and (2) their technical abilities. They have been able to highjack the system to route the calls. (Many scammers highjack numbers to call you, but don’t intercept calls back to those highjacked numbers.)
b. The recording so far has been identical, and has one very telling error: they identified themselves as “Internal Revenue Services.” Plural, not singular, and not correct, of course. Thankfully, we only have ONE IRS and not a multitude at the federal level (of course, states DO have the equivalent).
Now, these sorts of e-mails from dear Kristi may help people avoid getting caught by this scam. But they do NOT help people out of the REAL massive scam, that of government and the IRS itself. As I told Kristi (or at least, her staff – even with ONLY 800,000 constituents, I know she doesn’t read her own e-mails), “Of course, if we didn’t have the IRS, but instead a flat tax or a transaction tax, or even (gasp!) voluntary support of government, we wouldn’t have to worry about scams like this. Please support the abolition of the IRS and getting rid of the Tax Code which has more words (1 million +) than either the Bible or the Harry Potter book series.” Of course, since I’m NOT preaching to the choir, I realize that I can’t expect Mrs. Noem or her staff to understand the REAL SOLUTION to scams like this – getting rid of involuntary government completely. Ending not just the IRS but EVERY alphabet agency, getting rid not just of the Tax Code but every Code of Mandated Law. But, maybe, just maybe, this little e-mail might start the process of converting some dedicated statist into a lover of liberty.