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Anatomy of a Phone Scam (ThinkJump Journal #107 with Kim Gentes)

The last several weeks I've been getting an increasing number of scam phone calls. With the tax season coming to full stride, the focus of many of those predatory calls has been to pose as IRS, Treasury or "Federal" agents who are warning people of serious issues that can only be resolved by calling a special number. Of course, the hook is always that the perpetrators are looking for access to your credit cards, bank account or personal information/identity.

Yesterday, one of the scammers went as far as leaving a voice message. Here is what it said:

Hi. My name is David Grey, and this message is intended to contact you regarding an unfortunate action executed by the United States Treasury intending(sic) your serious attention. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid an issue appearance before a magistrate, judge or grand jury for a Federal criminal offence. My number is 631-729-5316. I repeat, it's 631-729-5316. I'd like you to cooperate with us, and us to help you. Thank you.

Here is the raw audio from the voice message.

Audio Recording of--  Scammer Voice Mail [click link to play]

It is probably obvious to many (perhaps even comical), but please remember- these are bogus and illegal scams. Please don't ever respond to these things. I was tired of all these fraudulent calls and harassment. So I decided to see what I could do to report these calls.

I went to the IRS website and read up on the ways to report such things to them. Their primary recommendation is to submit a report to the Treasury Department here:

You can also call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.

 You can also report phone fraud with the FTC here:

Part of the reason I get tired of this kind of harrassment is not because it is so clever that it isn't fairly easily detected, but because these tactics are so constant that it takes up time and energy to screen out. More than that, these same types of scammers are calling others, especially elderly friends and family members who may tend to trust "official sounding" scammers. If you know someone who is harrassed by such calls, and you aren't sure if they understand what to do and who to contact- help them get access to the numbers and links above. But most of all, sit with them and help explain these are fraudulent calls and they should not believe them. 

Finally, here is a video posted from the IRS themselves helping to warn people about these issues:

Be safe out there folks, and be sure to help those around you who might not understand the nature of the fraudulent calls they are recieving. 


I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to give legal counsel. This article is meant for research and resource purposes, and only renders my personal ideas, not a legal opinion. If you have serious questions about the law, consult an attorney.


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