Consumers

Scam Alert: IRS Brown Bag Scam

By March 20, 2018 No Comments

So, stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

A man walks into a bank with $5,000 in cash to pay the IRS. Sound familiar? We talk a lot about gift card scams, but some clever thieves have figured out every single way to make a quick buck off of your hard-earned money. Here’s a scam we uncovered on Twitter you may want to watch out for.

Comedian Dave Holmes took to Twitter to tell one of the most outrageous – and honestly, unbelievable – scams we’ve ever heard of. It started with a voicemail from the “IRS” claiming it was his final notice. He called back to see, just in case. A stern man answered the phone and said there was a warrant for his arrest and he was facing five years in federal prison. All pretty standard stuff, and generally in line with what we’ve heard from IRS type scams.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Holmes decides to play along and see where he can take this thing, so he tries to offer up his credit card info. While they demanded immediate payment, they refuse the card number. No, he would have to go to his bank and withdraw $5300 in cash. “Officer Johnson” walks him through the whole thing, while pretending he was an 8 year veteran of the IRS and too busy with paperwork to answer further questions. Holmes pretends to get the cash and put it in a paper bag before being transferred to “Officer Debbie.” It takes a village to scam, apparently.

“Officer Debbie” then instructs him to go to Bank of America and deposit the cash into an account whose number they would give him. She transfers him – again – to “Agent Paul” who gives him the account numbers. Routing, Account, and a name: Jack Milton. He gives him explicit instructions NOT to tell anyone the money is for the IRS. Of course! Anything that would tip the bank off could make the whole scheme fall through. The scammers don’t know that it’s already a wash, so when Holmes says he’s done what has been asked of him, “Agent Paul” sounds surprised and relieved.

That’s when Holmes asks if he can read him the receipt:

 

This story does have a happy ending, though. No one lost any money, and Holmes swears that the scammer apologized for trying the scheme. Based on this story (and the agent’s surprise), it’s doubtful this scam has very good legs to stand on.

If you suspect you’ve been contacted by a scammer, report the number to the FTC. Holmes ended up reporting the name and account numbers to the bank, as well as the phone number so future consumers may avoid this scam. When faced with scare tactics and bullying, remember that you always have enough time to fact check and research before you have to take any action.

This post is based on a Twitter thread from Dave Holmes. You can read the story in its entirety here, and follow him on Twitter.